Body composition during early infancy and its relation with body composition at 4 years of age in Jimma, an Ethiopian prospective cohort study.

Research paper by Bitiya B Admassu, Jonathan C K JCK Wells, Tsinuel T Girma, Tefera T Belachew, Christian C Ritz, Victor V Owino, Mubarek M Abera, Rasmus R Wibaek, Kim F KF Michaelsen, Pernille P Kæstel, Henrik H Friis, Gregers S GS Andersen

Indexed on: 08 Sep '18Published on: 08 Sep '18Published in: Nutrition & Diabetes


Low and high birth weight and rapid weight gain during infancy are associated with childhood obesity. Associations of birth and infancy body composition (BC) growth with childhood BC remain unknown in low-income countries. We aimed to investigate the associations of fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) at birth and its accretion during early infancy with FM and FFM at the age of 4 years. In the infant Anthropometry and Body Composition (iABC) cohort, BC was assessed at six consecutive time points from birth to 6 months and at 4 years of age by air displacement plethysmography. Multiple linear regression models were used to determine the association between FM and FFM at birth and their accretion rates during infancy and FM index (FMI) and FFM index (FFMI) at 4 years in 314 children. One kilogram higher FFM at birth was associated with a 1.07 kg/m higher FFMI (95% CI 0.60, 1.55) at 4 years while a one SD increment in FFM accretion rate from 0 to 6 months was associated with a 0.24 kg/m increment in FFMI (95% CI 0.11, 0.36) and with a 0.20 kg/m higher FMI at 4 years (β = 0.20; 95% CI 0.04, 0.37). FFM at birth did not predict FMI at 4 years. FM at birth was associated with 1.17 kg/m higher FMI at 4 years (95% CI 0.13, 2.22) whereas FM accretion from 0 to 4 months was associated with an increase in FMI of 0.30 kg/m (95% CI 0.12, 0.47). FM at birth did not predict FFMI at 4 years, and neither did FM accretion from 0 to 4 months. A higher FFM in early infancy predicted higher FFMI at 4 years while a higher FM accretion during early infancy predicted higher FMI at 4 years. Follow-up studies are merited to explore associations of childhood BC with cardio-metabolic risk later in life.

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