Objective: To examine the relationship between fetal growth and the biological risk factors of coronary heart disease (CHD) in adult life in China.
Methods: Follow up stuty of 628 men and women who were singleton born during 1948-1954 whose birth size were measured in detail.
Results: Decreasing birth weight increased the probability of myocardial ischaemic symptom related to CHD (beta = -0.0018, P < 0.01). The Odds ratio (OR) related to hypertension increased with decreasing birth weight and ponderal index (PI, kg/m3). The OR were 5.9 in people whose PI were 24 kg/m3 or less compare to people whose PI were more than 28 kg/m3. The OR related to impaired glucose tolerance(IGT) also increased with decreasing birth weight and PI. Insulin resistance, represented by fast insulin, rose with decreasing birth weight and head circumference(for trend, all P < 0.01). Serum TG concentration significantly rose with decreasing birth weight, PI and head circumference (for trend, P < 0.01, P < 0.01, P < 0.05), while HDL-C rose with increasing birth weight and head circumference (for trend, P < 0.05, P < 0.01). All above mentioned relations between birth size and the level of risk factors during adulthood were independent of gestation and adult lifestyle.
Conclusions: In China, low birth measurements which represent the fetal growth retardation might contribute to the present of biological risk factors of coronary heart disease during adulthood, such as hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, high serum triglyceride and low HDL-C.