Relation of Birth Weight to Fasting Insulin, Insulin Resistance, and Body Size in Adolescence

  1. Maureen A. Murtaugh, PHD1,
  2. David R. Jacobs, Jr., PHD1,
  3. Antoinette Moran, MD2,
  4. Julia Steinberger, MD2 and
  5. Alan R. Sinaiko, MD2
  1. 1Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN


    OBJECTIVE—A relationship between birth weight and the insulin resistance syndrome has been reported in adults but has not been defined in adolescents.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Data were analyzed in 296 children (132 girls and 164 boys) mean age 15.0 ± 1.2 years who had euglycemic insulin clamp studies (intravenous administration of 1 mU · kg–1 · min–1 of insulin balanced by a variable infusion of 20% glucose to maintain blood glucose at 100 mg/dl). Insulin sensitivity (MLBM) was determined by glucose uptake per kg lean body mass (LBM), and parents reported birth weight.

    RESULTS—Birth weight ranged from 1,021 to 4,848 g (mean ± SD 3,433 ± 551), with 4.0% <2,500 g. Fat mass and BMI had U-shaped relations with birth weight after adjustment for race, age, sex, and blood pressure. Lean mass index (lean mass/height squared) was stable across birth weight quartiles. Fasting insulin decreased nonsignificantly across birth weight quartiles but became significant after adjustment for adolescent weight (P = 0.008). Although MLBM was highest in the highest birth weight quartile, the pattern was not significant. Triglycerides tended to increase with birth weight, whereas LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) tended to decrease. Blood pressure was unrelated to birth weight.

    CONCLUSIONS—In this cohort, fat mass was greater in adolescents with low and high birth weight; fasting insulin was lower with higher birth weight after adjustment for adolescent weight. Insulin sensitivity increased nonsignificantly with birth weight.


    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Alan R. Sinaiko, MD, University of Minnesota Medical School, 420 Delaware St. S.E., Box 491 UMHC, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: sinai001{at}

      Received for publication 16 January 2002 and accepted in revised form 29 September 2002.

      A table elsewhere in this issue shows conventional and Système International (SI) units and conversion factors for many substances.

    | Table of Contents