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Obes Res. 1996 Jul;4(4):385-90.

Birth weight and its relationship to size attained and relative fat distribution at 7 to 12 years of age.

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Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1049, USA.


The relationship between birth weight and relative subcutaneous fat distribution at school age was considered in 131 boys and 106 girls 7 to 12 years of age. Relative fat distribution at school age was estimated with the ratio of the subscapular to triceps skinfolds (S/T) for the total sample, and with the ratio of the sum of two trunk (subscapular, midaxillary) to the sum of two extremity (triceps, medial calf) skinfolds (T/E) for subsamples of 102 boys and 63 girls. There were no sex differences in the S/T ratio (mm/mm), boys 0.62 +/- 0.15, girls 0.63 +/- 0.18; T/E ratio (mm/mm), boys 0.58 +/- 0.13, girls 0.59 +/- 0.16; and BMI (kg/m2), boys 17.1 +/- 2.4, girls 16.9 +/- 2.2. Second order partial correlations, controlling for age and the BMI or age and sum of skinfolds, between birth weight and the skinfold ratios are, respectively, -0.22 and -0.20 (p < 0.01) for S/T and -0.29 and -0.32 (p < 0.01) for T/E in girls, and -0.18 and -0.17 (p < 0.05) for S/T and -0.06 and -0.6 for T/E in boys. Though low, the correlations suggest that as birth weight decreases proportionally more subcutaneous fat is accumulated on the trunk than on the extremities, more so in females than in males. Results of stepwise multiple regression analyses indicate that birth weight accounts for from 2% to 8% of the variance in relative subcutaneous fat distribution at school age.

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