Visceral Adiposity without Overweight in Children Born Small for Gestational Age

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Abstract

Context:

Children born small for gestational age (SGA) tend to develop catch-up growth in infancy and become overweight by the age of 6 yr. Weight control is advocated as a preventive measure, but it is unknown whether such control suffices to prevent visceral fat excess and hypoadiponectinemia.

Setting:

The study was performed at a university hospital.

Study Population and Design:

A total of 64 children (32 matched pairs) aged 6 yr, of whom 32 were born appropriate for gestational age and 32 were born SGA, and had subsequently developed spontaneous catch-up growth were included in the study; matching was performed for gender, height, weight, and, thus, body mass index.

Main Outcomes:

Fasting insulin, IGF-I, high molecular weight adiponectin, leptin, visfatin, and lean and fat mass were calculated by absorptiometry, and abdominally sc and visceral fat by magnetic resonance imaging.

Results:

After strict matching, SGA children had a total lean mass, total fat mass, leptinemia, and visfatinemia comparable to those in the appropriate for gestational age children, but they still had higher fasting insulin and IGF-I levels (P < 0.01), much lower high molecular weight adiponectin levels (P < 0.0001), and a striking shift from abdominally sc to visceral fat (P < 0.0001). Fasting insulin (r = 0.52; P < 0.00001) was a major determinant of visceral fat in boys and girls, explaining 28% of its variance.

Conclusions:

SGA children tend to be viscerally adipose and hypo-adiponectinemic, even if they are not overweight. Therefore, measures beyond weight control seem to be needed to allow most SGA children to normalize their body composition and endocrine-metabolic homeostasis.

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