Objective: To examine whether the association between birth weight and fat distribution in childhood is modified by parental overweight.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 728 Danish children aged 8–10 and 14–16 years. The main outcomes were waist circumference, waist-to-height ratio, subscapular skinfold, and subscapular-to-triceps skinfold ratio. Analyses were stratified by parental overweight status (none vs. ≥1 overweight parent) for each dependent variable, expressed as z-scores.
Results: Birth weight z-score was negatively associated with waist circumference (β –0.08 SD; 95% CI –0.15, –0.02), waist-to-height ratio (β –0.15 SD; 95% CI –0.22, –0.07), and subscapular-to-triceps ratio (β –0.28 SD; 95% CI –0.44, –0.12) after adjustment for sex, age, puberty, preterm birth, BMI, height, socio-economic status, mother’s age at delivery, parity, breastfeeding, energy intake, and aerobic fitness in the group with ≥1 overweight parent. Birth weight was negatively associated with subscapular skinfold in groups with (β –0.16 SD; 95% CI –0.24, –0.06) and without overweight parents (β –0.09 SD; 95% CI –0.16, –0.02), but the magnitude of the association was greater in the former group.
Conclusion: The association between birth weight and fat distribution seems to be influenced by parental overweight. Lower birth weights are associated with central adiposity among offspring of overweight parents.