Fat and fat-free mass at birth: air displacement plethysmography measurements on 350 Ethiopian newborns

Gregers S Andersen, Tsinuel Girma, Jonathan C K Wells, Pernille Kæstel, Kim F Michaelsen, Henrik Friis

57 Citations (Scopus)


LBW increases the risk of a number of noncommunicable diseases in adulthood. However, birth weight (BW) cannot describe variability in infant body composition (BC). Variability in fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass (FFM) at birth may be particularly important in low-income countries because they undergo nutritional transition. There is a need for data on birth BC and its predictors from low-income countries in transition. We assessed absolute FM and FFM at birth and examined the role of gender, parity, GA, and LBW as predictors of birth BC. FM and FFM were assessed within 48 h of birth on 350 Ethiopian newborns using air displacement plethysmography (ADP). Female gender and being an infant of primi- or secundiparous mothers predicted lower BW and lower birth FFM but not FM, compared with male gender and infants of multiparous mothers, respectively. There was a positive linear relationship between BW and relative amount of FM for boys and girls. This study presents reference data on birth FM and FFM from a low-income setting and provides background for further longitudinal mapping of the relationship between fetal BC, childhood growth, and adult disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)501-6
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose Tissue
  • Birth Order
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Composition
  • Ethiopia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Plethysmography
  • Sex Factors
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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