Sadananthan SA, Tint MT, Michael N, Aris IM, Loy SL, Lee KJ, Shek LP, Yap FKP, Tan KH, Godfrey KM, Leow MK, Lee YS, Kramer MS, Gluckman PD, Chong YS, Karnani N, Henry CJ, Fortier MV, Velan SS. “Association Between Early Life Weight Gain and Abdominal Fat Partitioning at 4.5 Years is Sex, Ethnicity, and Age Dependent”. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019 Mar;27(3):470-478. doi: 10.1002/oby.22408.
The aim of this study was to investigate the independent associations between age-specific annual weight gain from birth to age 4 years and fat deposition in metabolically distinct compartments at age 4.5 years in a South Asian longitudinal birth cohort.
Volumetric abdominal magnetic resonance imaging with comprehensive segmentation of deep and superficial subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissues (VAT) was performed in 316 children (150 boys and 166 girls in three ethnic groups; 158 Chinese, 94 Malay, and 64 Indian) aged 4.5 years. Associations between fat volumes and annual relative weight gain conditional on past growth were assessed overall and stratified by sex and ethnicity.
Conditional relative weight gain had stronger associations with greater SAT and VAT at age 4.5 years in girls than boys and in Indians compared with Malay and Chinese. Overall, the magnitude of association was the largest during 2 to 3 years for SAT and 1 to 2 years for VAT. Despite similar body weight, Indian children and girls had the highest deep and superficial SAT volumes at age 4.5 years (all interactions P < 0.05). No significant sex or ethnic differences were observed in VAT. With increasing BMI, Indian children had the highest tendency to accumulate VAT, and girls accumulated more fat than boys in all depots (all interactions P < 0.001).
Indian ethnicity and female sex predisposed children to accumulate more fat in the VAT depot with increasing conditional relative weight gain in the second year of life. Thus, 1 to 2 years of age may be a critical window for interventions to reduce visceral fat accumulation.
This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Singapore (NMRC/TCR/004‐NUS/2008; NMRC/TCR/012‐NUHS/2014). Additional funding is provided by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, and Nestec. KMG is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12011/4), the National Institute for Health Research (as a NIHR Senior Investigator [NF‐SI‐0515‐10042] and through the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre), and the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007‐2013), projects EarlyNutrition and ODIN, under grant agreement numbers 289346 and 613977.
The full paper can be downloaded from the publisher's URL here: https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.22408