Relationships between neonatal weight, limb lengths, skinfold thicknesses, body breadths and circumferences in an Australian cohort

Pomeroy, Emma, Stock, Jay T., Cole, Tim J., O'Callaghan, Michael and Wells, Jonathan C. K. (2014) Relationships between neonatal weight, limb lengths, skinfold thicknesses, body breadths and circumferences in an Australian cohort. Plos One, 9 8: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105108


Author Pomeroy, Emma
Stock, Jay T.
Cole, Tim J.
O'Callaghan, Michael
Wells, Jonathan C. K.
Title Relationships between neonatal weight, limb lengths, skinfold thicknesses, body breadths and circumferences in an Australian cohort
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-08-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0105108
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 8
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background

Low birth weight has been consistently associated with adult chronic disease risk. The thrifty phenotype hypothesis assumes that reduced fetal growth impacts some organs more than others. However, it remains unclear how birth weight relates to different body components, such as circumferences, adiposity, body segment lengths and limb proportions. We hypothesized that these components vary in their relationship to birth weight.

Methods

We analysed the relationship between birth weight and detailed anthropometry in 1270 singleton live-born neonates (668 male) from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (Brisbane, Australia). We tested adjusted anthropometry for correlations with birth weight. We then performed stepwise multiple regression on birth weight of: body lengths, breadths and circumferences; relative limb to neck-rump proportions; or skinfold thicknesses. All analyses were adjusted for sex and gestational age, and used logged data.

Results

Circumferences, especially chest, were most strongly related to birth weight, while segment lengths (neck-rump, thigh, upper arm, and especially lower arm and lower leg) were relatively weakly related to birth weight, and limb lengths relative to neck-rump length showed no relationship. Skinfolds accounted for 36% of birth weight variance, but adjusting for size (neck-rump, thigh and upper arm lengths, and head circumference), this decreased to 10%. There was no evidence that heavier babies had proportionally thicker skinfolds.

Conclusions

Neonatal body measurements vary in their association with birth weight: head and chest circumferences showed the strongest associations while limb segment lengths did not relate strongly to birth weight. After adjusting for body size, subcutaneous fatness accounted for a smaller proportion of birth weight variance than previously reported. While heavier babies had absolutely thicker skinfolds, this was proportional to their size. Relative limb to trunk length was unrelated to birth weight, suggesting that limb proportions at birth do not index factors relevant to prenatal life.
Keyword Coronary heart disease
Low birth weight
Leg length
Fetal growth
Trunk length
Intrauterine growth
Insulin resistance
High altitude
Nhanes-III
In utero
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article ID: e105108

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
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