Objective: To estimate the impact of foetal nutritional status on cardiovascular risk among children with the Foetal Nutritional Status Index (FNSI), calculated by dividing the child's birth weight (BW, kg) by the mother's height (m2).
Design: Cross-sectional survey analysis.
Setting: A sample of children from the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Subjects: A total of 3109 children who were 5-11 years of age and had data on BW and mother's height. Non-fasting blood samples were included.
Results: Overall, the FNSI was positively associated with BW and negatively associated with mother's height (P<0.0001). Within sex-specific quintiles of FNSI (third quintile as reference) adjusted for potential confounding variables, cardiovascular risk factors tended to be 'higher' in the lower quintiles for males while the opposite was true for females. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that the odds for males in quintile 1 was 2.4 for having a low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P<0.01) and 2.1 for having a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors (P=0.01); for females, the odds of having a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors was approximately two times higher for those in the first and fifth quintiles, who also had a significantly higher prevalence of central obesity.
Conclusions: The FNSI may be a potential proxy indicator of foetal nutritional status and it may be used to test specific hypotheses of whether foetal nutrition restriction or overnutrition programmes future cardiovascular risk.