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Pediatr Obes. 2016 Aug;11(4):251-7. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12053. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

The sequence of prenatal growth restraint and post-natal catch-up growth leads to a thicker intima-media and more pre-peritoneal and hepatic fat by age 3-6 years.

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Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Diabetes y Enfermedades Metabólicas Asociadas (CIBERDEM), ISCIII, Madrid, Spain.
Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Josep Trueta Hospital, Girona, Spain.
Grupo de Estudio de Enfermedades Metabólicas Asociadas a Resistencia a la Insulina (GEMMAIR), Department of Medicine and Surgery, Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain.
Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.



Infants born small-for-gestational-age (SGA) who develop post-natal weight catch-up are at risk for insulin resistance, central adiposity and cardiovascular disease in later life, even in the absence of overweight.


In young (age 3-6 years) non-obese SGA children, we assessed arterial health (as judged by intima-media thickness [IMT]) and abdominal fat distribution (subcutaneous, visceral, preperitoneal and hepatic components by magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and/or ultrasound [US]) besides a selection of endocrine markers.


Comparisons of measures in SGA (n = 27) vs. appropriate-for-GA (AGA) children (n = 19) of similar height, weight and body mass index. Longitudinal outcomes (age 3-6 years) were carotid IMT (cIMT); fasting glucose, circulating insulin, IGF-I and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin; abdominal fat partitioning by US. Cross-sectional outcomes (age 6 years) were aortic IMT (aIMT) and abdominal fat partitioning by MRI.


At 3 and 6 years, cIMT and IGF-I results were higher and HMW adiponectin lower in SGA than AGA children; at 6 years, SGA subjects had also a thicker aIMT and more pre-peritoneal and hepatic fat, and were less insulin sensitive (all P values between <0.05 and <0.0001). cIMT correlated positively with pre-peritoneal fat, particularly at 6 years. Post-SGA status and weight gain in early childhood (between 3 and 6 years) were independent predictors of cIMT at 6 years, explaining 48 % of its variance.


SGA children aged 3-6 years were found to have a thicker intima- media and more pre-peritoneal and hepatic fat than AGA children of comparable size.


Insulin resistance; SGA; intima-media thickness; intra-hepatic fat

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