Nonlinear Relationship between Birth Weight and Visceral Fat in Adolescents

Brian K. Stansfield, Mary Ellen Fain, Jatinder Bhatia, Bernard Gutin, Joshua T. Nguyen, Norman K. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective To determine the association of birth weight with abdominal fat distribution and markers known to increase risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adolescents. Study design In 575 adolescents aged 14-18 years (52% female, 46% black), birth weight was obtained by parental recall. Fasting blood samples were measured for glucose, insulin, lipids, adiponectin, leptin, and C-reactive protein. Subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. Results When we compared markers of cardiometabolic risk across tertiles of birth weight, adjusting for age, sex, race, Tanner stage, physical activity, socioeconomic status, and body mass index, there were significant U-shaped trends for homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, leptin, and visceral adipose tissue (all P quadratic <.05). A significant linear downward trend across tertiles of birth weight was observed for triglycerides (P linear =.03). There were no differences in fasting glucose, blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, adiponectin, C-reactive protein, or subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue across tertiles of birth weight. Conclusions Our data suggest that both low and high birth weights are associated with greater visceral adiposity and biomarkers implicated in insulin resistance and inflammation in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • fetal origins
  • insulin resistance
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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