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Distinct infancy fat growth patterns and their association with body composition and abdominal fat distribution at 8-12 years of age

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Introduction: Accelerated weight gain in infancy is associated with adiposity later in life. However, the role of infant fat
tissue growth patterns on body composition and abdominal fat distribution in childhood is not known.
Objectives: We examined whether fat mass (FM) growth patterns in early infancy associate with FM, fat free mass (FFM),
abdominal subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) at 8-12 years of age.
Methods: We previously used air displacement plethysmography (ADP) to measure FM monthly from 0 to 6 months of
age in 395 Ethiopian infants, and applied latent class trajectory modeling as a data driven approach to establish 4
subgroups with distinct FM growth patterns from 0-6 months of age. These were characterized by; Intermediate fat
(middle birth fat, middle fat growth velocity) (59.5%), accelerated fat (high birth fat, high 0-4 mo fat growth velocity)
(32.0%), delayed fat (low birth fat, low fat growth velocity) (5.3%) and catch-up fat (low birth fat, high fat catch-up growth
from 2.5-6 mo) (3.2%) (Figure 1).
At 8-12 years, 309 (78%) of the children were re-examined. FM and FFM were assessed by ADP; and SAT and VAT
thickness were assessed by ultrasound. Multiple linear regression was used to model associations of the infancy fat
growth patterns with FM, FFM, SAT and VAT at 8-12 years. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, weight and length at
Results: At 8-12 years, mean (SD) FM was 5.50 (3.28) kg, FFM was 21.63 (3.20) kg, SAT was 0.67 (0.52) cm and VAT
was 3.92 (0.91) cm. Compared to the "intermediate fat" group, infants in the "catch-up fat" group had higher SAT at 10
years (0.35 cm, 95%CI: 0.01; 0.70 cm) and a tendency towards higher levels of FM (1.92 kg, 95%CI: -0.16; 4.01) and
VAT (0.54 cm, 95%CI: -0.06; 1.15) (Table 1). The other infancy fat pattern groups were not different from the intermediate
fat group.
Conclusions: A catch-up fat growth pattern in early infancy was associated with higher SAT thickness and a tendency
towards higher VAT thickness and FM at 10 years. This could indicate that early infancy fat catch-up growth play a role in
programming of abdominal fat distribution later in childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
EventDevelopmental Origins of Health and Disease World Congress 2022 - Canada Place, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 27 Aug 202231 Aug 2022


ConferenceDevelopmental Origins of Health and Disease World Congress 2022
LocationCanada Place
Internet address


Developmental Origins of Health and Disease World Congress 2022


Vancouver, Canada

Event: Conference

ID: 84547080