Catch-up growth in girls born small for gestational age precedes childhood progression to high adiposity

Fertil Steril. 2011 Jul;96(1):220-3. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.03.107. Epub 2011 May 5.


Objective: To study across childhood the features of small for gestational age (SGA) girls with spontaneous catch-up growth.

Design: Longitudinal study (age 2-8 years).

Setting: University hospital.

Patient(s): Post-catch-up SGA girls (n = 18) versus healthy control girls born appropriate for gestational age (AGA; n = 13).

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Height, weight, fasting glucose, insulin, IGF-I, high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin, LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, body composition by absorptiometry (2-8 years); visceral fat by magnetic resonance imaging (6-8 years); bone age (by automated reading), sex hormone-binding globulin, DHEAS, and leptin (8 years).

Result(s): At age 2 years, AGA and SGA girls were comparable for all study markers. Between 2 and 8 years, girls were prepubertal; AGA and SGA girls gained height, lean mass, and bone mineral content similarly; other outcomes diverged so that, at age 8, SGA girls had markedly higher levels of circulating insulin, IGF-I, DHEAS, LDL cholesterol, and leptin; lower HMW adiponectin and SHBG levels; more total and visceral fat (without being obese); and an older bone age.

Conclusion(s): After completing catch-up growth and before starting puberty, SGA girls develop an ensemble that includes not only central adiposity, hyperinsulinemia, and hypoadiponectinemia but also hyperleptinemia, dyslipidemia, lower SHBG and higher DHEAS levels, and faster bone maturation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Birth Weight / physiology
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / growth & development*
  • Longitudinal Studies