Article | Published:

Epidemiology and Population Health

Subcutaneous fat mass in infancy and abdominal, pericardial and liver fat assessed by Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the age of 10 years

International Journal of Obesityvolume 43pages392401 (2019) | Download Citation

Abstract

Background/Objectives

Fat mass development in infancy contributes to later adiposity, but its relation to ectopic fat depots is unknown. We examined the associations of infant subcutaneous fat with childhood general and organ-specific fat.

Subjects/Methods

Among 593 children from a population-based prospective cohort study, we obtained total subcutaneous fat mass (as sum of biceps, triceps, suprailiacal, and subscapular skinfolds thickness), central-to-total subcutaneous fat ratio (sum of suprailiacal and subscapular skinfold thickness/total subcutaneous fat) at 1.5, 6 and 24 months of age. At 10 years, we assessed BMI, fat mass index (FMI) based on total body fat by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and abdominal subcutaneous, visceral and pericardial fat mass indices, and liver fat fraction by Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Results

A higher central-to-total subcutaneous fat ratio at 1.5 months only and higher total subcutaneous fat at 6 and 24 months were associated with higher BMI, FMI and subcutaneous fat mass index at 10 years. The observed associations were the strongest between total subcutaneous fat at 24 months and these childhood outcomes (difference per 1-SDS increase in total subcutaneous fat: 0.15 SDS (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.08, 0.23), 0.17 SDS (95% CI 0.10, 0.24), 0.16 SDS (95% CI 0.08, 0.23) for BMI, FMI and childhood subcutaneous fat mass index, respectively). Infant subcutaneous fat measures at any time point were not associated with visceral and pericardial fat mass indices, and liver fat fraction at 10 years.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that infant subcutaneous fat is associated with later childhood abdominal subcutaneous fat and general adiposity, but not with other organ-specific fat depots.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of general practitioners, hospitals, midwives, and pharmacies in Rotterdam.

Funding

The general design of the Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and Ministry of Youth and Families. Research that has leaded to these findings received support by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (VIDI 016.136.361), a European Research Council Consolidator Grant (ERC-2014-CoG-648916), an unrestricted grant from Nutricia Research and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements no 733206 (LifeCycle). Bernadeta Patro Golab received a research training fellowship grant from the Nestle Nutrition Institute.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • Bernadeta Patro Golab
    • , Ellis Voerman
    • , Susana Santos
    •  & Vincent W. V. Jaddoe
  2. Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • Bernadeta Patro Golab
    • , Ellis Voerman
    • , Susana Santos
    •  & Vincent W. V. Jaddoe
  3. Department of Pediatrics, Sophia Children’s Hospital, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • Bernadeta Patro Golab
    • , Ellis Voerman
    • , Susana Santos
    •  & Vincent W. V. Jaddoe
  4. Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

    • Bernadeta Patro Golab
  5. Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • Aad van der Lugt

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vincent W. V. Jaddoe.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-018-0287-7