Programming of Adiposity in Childhood and Adolescence: Associations With Birth Weight and Cord Blood Adipokines

Joy Simpson, Andrew D A C Smith, Abigail Fraser, Naveed Sattar, Robert S Lindsay, Susan M Ring, Kate Tilling, George Davey Smith, Debbie A Lawlor, Scott M Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)
493 Downloads (Pure)


CONTEXT: Exposure to maternal adiposity during pregnancy is associated with higher offspring birthweight and greater adiposity through childhood and adult life. As birthweight reflects the summation of lean and fat mass, the extent to which fat mass at birth tracks into later life is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: Determine whether fat mass at birth is associated with child and adolescent adiposity.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: UK birth cohort with markers of neonatal fat mass; cord blood leptin, adiponectin, and birthweight and adiposity outcomes at age 9 (N=2775) and 17years (N=2138).

MAIN OUTCOMES: Offspring BMI, waist circumference, DXA-determined fat mass and obesity at age 9 and 17years.

RESULTS: Higher cord blood leptin was associated with higher z-scores of fat mass (difference in mean per 10pg/ml: 0.03SD,95%CI 0.00-0.06), waist circumference (0.04SD,95%CI 0.00-0.07), and BMI (0.04SD,95%CI 0.00-0.08), at age 9. However, by age 17 the adjusted results were attenuated to the null. Cord blood adiponectin was not associated with measures of adiposity at age 9. At age 17, cord blood adiponectin was positively associated with fat mass (0.02SD per 10μg/ml,95%CI 0.02-0.03) and waist circumference (0.04SD per 10μg/ml,95%CI 0.03-0.05). Birthweight was positively associated with waist circumference (0.03SD per 100g,95%CI 0.02-0.04) and BMI (0.02SD per 100g,95%CI 0.00-0.03), but not fat mass or odds of obesity. Cord blood leptin and adiponectin were not associated with obesity at either age.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased cord blood leptin and adiponectin, known surrogates of fetal fat mass, were weakly associated with increased fat mass in late childhood and adolescence respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • body mass index procedure
  • adolescent
  • birth weight
  • child
  • fetus
  • newborn
  • leptin
  • mothers
  • adiponectin
  • umbilical cord blood
  • waist circumference
  • adipokines
  • offspring


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