Physical activity attenuates the negative effect of low birth weight on leptin levels in European adolescents; the HELENA study

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Apr;23(4):344-9. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.12.004. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


We examined whether physical activity (PA) influences the association between birth weight and serum leptin in adolescents. The study comprised a total of 538 adolescents (315 girls), aged 12.5-17.49 years, born at term (≥ 37 weeks of gestation). We measured serum leptin levels and time engaged in moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) by accelerometry. There was an interaction effect between birth weight and meeting the PA recommendations (60 min/day MVPA) on leptin levels in girls (P = 0.023) but not in boys (P = 0.809). Birth weight was negatively associated with leptin levels in girls not meeting the PA recommendations (i.e. more than 60 min/day of MVPA) (β = -0.096, P = 0.009), whereas no significant association was observed in those meeting the PA recommendations (β = -0.061, P = 0.433). In conclusion, meeting the PA recommendations may attenuate the negative effect of low birth weight on serum leptin levels in European female adolescents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adolescent
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Leptin