Fetal metabolic influences of neonatal anthropometry and adiposity

Type Article

Journal Article


J. M. Donnelly; K. L. Lindsay; J. M. Walsh; M. Horan; E. J. Molloy; F. M. McAuliffe

Year of publication



BMC Pediatr







BACKGROUND: Large for gestational age infants have an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic complications during life. Knowledge of the key predictive factors of neonatal adiposity is required to devise targeted antenatal interventions. Our objective was to determine the fetal metabolic factors that influence regional neonatal adiposity in a cohort of women with previous large for gestational age offspring. METHODS: Data from the ROLO [Randomised COntrol Trial of LOw Glycaemic Index in Pregnancy] study were analysed in the ROLO Kids study. Neonatal anthropometric and skinfold measurements were compared with fetal leptin and C-peptide results from cord blood in 185 cases. Analyses were performed to examine the association between these metabolic factors and birthweight, anthropometry and markers of central and generalised adiposity. RESULTS: Fetal leptin was found to correlate with birthweight, general adiposity and multiple anthropometric measurements. On multiple regression analysis, fetal leptin remained significantly associated with adiposity, independent of gender, maternal BMI, gestational age or study group assignment, while fetal C-peptide was no longer significant. CONCLUSION: Fetal leptin may be an important predictor of regional neonatal adiposity. Interventional studies are required to assess the impact of neonatal adiposity on the subsequent risk of childhood obesity and to determine whether interventions which reduce circulating leptin levels have a role to play in improving neonatal adiposity measures.