Paternal body fat is a longitudinal predictor of changes in body fat in premenarcheal girls

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):829-34. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.3.829.


Background: Longitudinal studies in infants and children suggest that low total energy expenditure (EE) (TEE) and parental body composition are important predisposing factors to obesity.

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine potential predictors of changes in total or percentage body fat over 2.7 y in premenarcheal girls.

Design: We studied 47 normal-weight prepubertal girls aged 4.8-8.9 y in 3 visits. The girls' age, total and percentage body fat at baseline, sleep EE (SEE) and activity-related EE (AEE) adjusted for fat-free mass (FFM) and total body fat, mothers' and fathers' total and percentage body fat and FFM at baseline, and time to follow-up visits were measured; 24-h EE and SEE were measured by whole-room indirect calorimetry. AEE was calculated as TEE minus (SEE + 0.1 TEE), with the assumption that the thermic effect of food was 10% of TEE. The girls' body composition was measured at each visit and that of the parents was measured at the time of the girls' enrollment by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: From baseline to the first (mean: 1.6 y) and the second (mean: 2.7 y) follow-up visits, the girls' mean (+/-SD) change in total fat adjusted for FFM was 1.2 +/- 2.7 and 3.3 +/- 4.0 kg, respectively, and the mean change in percentage body fat was -2.0 +/- 5.0% and -0. 8 +/- 5.9%, respectively. Fathers' total and percentage body fat were the main predictors of changes in the girls' total and percentage body fat. For the first follow-up visit, SEE, girls' age at baseline, and AEE were significant predictors of percentage body fat.

Conclusion: Fathers' total and percentage body fat were predictors of changes in body fat of premenarcheal girls during a 2. 7-y period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Body Composition*
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fathers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menarche