Association between Birth weight and Metabolic Syndrome

Objective: This study examined the effects of high birth weight (HBW), >4 kg and low birth weight (LBW), <2.5 kg, on an individual’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS) later in life; with consideration of both maternal and individual lifetime behavioral, social, and environmental factors.

Methods: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) dataset was used to identify individuals with MetS and individuals who reported either HBW or LBW. Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between LBW and HBW with MetS, while controlling for various social and demographic factors of participants and parents.

Results: The study population was 55% female, 22% African-American, with an average age of 63 years. The prevalence of reported LBW among males and females was 1.7% and 4.6%, respectively. The prevalence of reported HBW among males and females was 8.7% and 5.0%, respectively. A relationship between LBW and future risk of MetS was attenuated by pertinent socioeconomic and lifestyle-related risk factors that defined both the participant and their familial influence, particularly maternal age at the time of birth. An association between HBW and MetS was not found.

Conclusions: This work does not support an association between HBW nor LBW with adult MetS. The development of MetS may be associated with subject’s socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.


Emily C Curlin* and Martin Root

Abstract | Full-Text | PDF

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