ESPE Abstracts (2018) 89 P-P1-118

Longitudinal Changes in Abdominal Fat Distribution in the First Two Years of Life

Inge van Beijsterveldta, Kirsten de Fluitera, Dennis Actonb & Anita Hokken-Koelegaa


aErasmus Medical Center – Sophia Childrens Hospital, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; bDanone Nutricia Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands


Changes in abdominal fat distribution in the first months of life might be critical for adult metabolic health. Type of feeding might influence the abdominal fat distribution in early life. This study aims to determine whether type of feeding is related to abdominal fat distribution and whether changes in early life are associated with abdominal fat distribution at the age of 2 years.

Methods: In the Sophia Pluto Cohort, infants are examined at age 1 and 3 months and 2 years. 301 healthy term born infants (176 boys) completed 2 years. Body composition was measured by Peapod and DXA scan. Abdominal subcutaneous fat (SCF) and visceral fat (VF) were measured by ultrasound, from 3 months. Abdominal subcutaneous/visceral fat ratio (SCF/VF-ratio) was calculated. All data are expressed as medians.

Results: At age 3 months, 118 (39.2%) infants were exclusively breastfed (BF-group) and 78 (25.9%) exclusively formula fed (FF-group) from birth onwards. At age 3 months, BF-group had a median SCF of 0.42 cm and VF of 2.43 cm, with an SCF/VF-ratio of 0.18, while FF-group had a median SCF of 0.39 cm, VF of 2.50 cm and an SCF/VF-ratio of 0.16. The VF was similar in both groups, but the SCF and SCF/VF-ratio were significantly higher in BF vs FF (P=0.031 and 0.021, resp.). There was no difference between boys and girls. Between age 3 months and 2 years, the SCF and VF decreased in BF and FF, not significantly different between both groups. At age 2 years, BF-group had a median SCF of 0.31 cm, VF of 2.10 cm and an SCF/VF-ratio of 0.16 and FF-group an SCF of 0.32 cm, VF of 2.10 cm and an SCF/VF-ratio of 0.15, not significantly different between groups. The SCF at 3 months was associated with SCF at 2 years in the FF-group only (r=0.314, P=0.01). The SCF/VF-ratio at age 3 months was borderline associated with the SCF/VF-ratio at 2 years in the FF-group (r=0.239, P=0.048), and significantly in boys (r=0.375, P=0.011).

Conclusion: At age 3 months, infants with exclusive BF had significantly more abdominal subcutaneous fat than infants with exclusive FF and similar visceral fat, but this difference had disappeared at age 2 years. Our data show an association between the abdominal fat distribution in early life and at 2 years in boys with exclusive FF.

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