SGA-born adults with postnatal catch-up have a persistently unfavourable metabolic health profile and increased adiposity at age 32 years

Wesley Jim Goedegebuure, Manouk Van der Steen, Carolina Catharina Johanna Smeets, Gerthe Femke Kerkhof, Anita Charlotte Suzanne Hokken-Koelega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Catch-up in weight-for-length in the first year of life results in more insulin resistance, an adverse lipid profile and more fat mass (FM) in 21-year-old adults born small for gestational age (SGA-CU) compared to peers born SGA without catch-up and those born appropriate for gestational age (AGA). The aim of present study was to investigate if the adverse metabolic health profile in the SGA-CU group would worsen or remain stable over the years and to determine the cardiometabolic health at 32 years between the SGA and AGA groups. Methods: We longitudinally investigated 287 adults, 170 SGA with catch-up growth (SGA-CU) or persistent short stature (SGA-S) and 117 AGA at ages 21 and 32 years. Insulin sensitivity (Si) and β-cell function were measured by frequently sampled i.v. glucose tolerance test, body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, and abdominal adipose tissue and liver fat fraction by MRI scan. Also, fasting serum lipid levels and blood pressure were measured. Results: At age 32 years, SGA-CU had lower Si than AGA (P = 0.030), while SGA-S had similar Si than AGA. FM and trunk fat were higher in SGA-CU than AGA (P = 0.033, P = 0.024, respectively), while SGA-S had lower lean body mass than SGA-CU and AGA (P = 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). SGA-CU had significantly higher levels of adverse lipids than AGA. Beta-cell function, visceral fat, liver fat fraction and blood pressure were similar in all groups. Metabolic health parameters in SGA-CU and SGA-S did not worsen compared to AGA during 11 years of follow-up. Gain in weight SDS from birth to age 32 years was associated with a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome at age 32 years. Conclusion: At age 32 years, SGA-CU adults had insulin resistance, higher FM with central adiposity and an adverse lipid profile. Postnatal catch-up growth increases the cardiometabolic risk; therefore, accelerated gain in weight should be prevented in SGA-born children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2022


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