ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 P-D-2-3-395

Body Composition in 10-15 Years Old Children Exposed to Pesticides Prenatally

Jeanette Tinggaarda, Christine Wohlfahrt-Vejea, Ida M Schmidta, Malene Boasa, Steffen Husbyb, Katharina M Maina, Niels E Skakkebæka, Tina K Jensena,c & Helle R Andersenc


aDepartment of Growth and Reproduction, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; bHans Christian Andersen Children’s Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; cInstitute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark


Background: Exposure to non-persistent pesticides may have an effect on prenatal growth and later risk of adiposity. Prenatal pesticide exposure has been found to be associated with lower birth weight and higher body fat percentage calculated from skinfolds at age 6–11 years. Body composition measured by using DXA in children prenatally exposed to pesticides has not previously been reported.

Objective and hypotheses: To study the effects of prenatal pesticide exposure on body composition measured by DXA in children. We hypothesize that prenatal exposure to pesticides predispose to childhood adiposity.

Method: A prospective study including 247 children born by female greenhouse workers. The children were examined at 3 months (N=203), 6–11 years (N=177), and 10–15 years of age (N=163). The examination included anthropometry, skinfold measurements, pubertal staging, urine, and blood sampling. Whole body DXA scan was performed in 160 of 163 children at age 10–15 years.

Results: Children exposed to pesticides had significantly lower birth weight and weight for gestational age (P=0.032 and P=0.038 respectively). At age 10–15 years the following parameters were significantly higher in exposed children compared to unexposed children, irrespective of gender: BMI SDS, increase in BMI SDS from birth, waist circumference, skinfold measurements, total body fat percentage (calculated from skinfold measurements using Slaughter equation and by DXA), and android and gynoid fat percentages (DXA). Total body fat SDS (DXA) was 0.46 S.D. higher in exposed than unexposed children when adjusting for maternal smoking during pregnancy, puberty and socioeconomic status.

Conclusion: Prenatal pesticide exposure was associated with reduced prenatal growth followed by increased childhood adiposity measured by skinfolds and DXA.

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