Maternal and early life influences on calcaneal ultrasound parameters and metacarpal morphometry in 7- to 9-year-old children

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Abstract

We investigated the relationship between maternal and early life influences, calcaneal ultrasound parameters, and metacarpal morphometry in 7- to 9-year-old children (n = 109) of mixed ancestral origin from a working class community. Their mothers had participated in a nutrition and pregnancy study at the time of the birth. Demographic and maternal data were collected. Anthropometry was assessed. Broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and speed of sound (SOS) were measured in the children and a subsample of the mothers (n = 94), using calcaneal ultrasound. Hand radiographs were used to measure metacarpal morphometry. There was no relationship between the ultrasound parameters, birthweight, current weight, or height. The ponderal index was correlated with BUA (r = 0.25; P = 0.036). BUA was lower in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy compared to children whose mothers did not smoke (P = 0.054). Children whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy had a lower Barnett-Nordin metacarpal index compared to children whose mothers did not consume alcohol (P < 0.05), after covarying for sex, age, gestational age, weight, and height of the child. Children's BUA was negatively correlated with housing density (r = -0.23; P = 0.021). In this study, we found an association between maternal and early life influences on calcaneal ultrasound parameters and metacarpal morphometry in prepubertal children, an association that was also influenced by sociodemographic and environmental factors.

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