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This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the strength and magnitude of the association between birthweight and adult bone mass. Higher birthweight was associated with higher bone mineral content of the spine and hip in adult men and women at ages between 18 and 80 years across a range of settings.The aim of this review was to assess the strength and magnitude of the association between early size and adult bone mass.Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed the association between birthweight or weight at 1 year, and bone mineral content (BMC) or bone mineral density (BMD) in adulthood.Fourteen studies met inclusion criteria. Nine assessed the relationship between birthweight and lumbar spine BMC, most showing that higher birthweight was associated with greater adult BMC. Meta-analysis demonstrated that a 1 kg increase in birthweight was associated with a 1.49 g increase in lumbar spine BMC (95% CI 0.77-2.21). Birthweight was not associated with lumbar spine BMD in 11 studies. In six studies, considering the relationship between birthweight and hip BMC, most found that higher birthweight was associated with greater BMC. Meta-analysis demonstrated that a 1 kg increase in birthweight was associated with a 1.41 g increase in hip BMC (95% CI 0.91-1.91). Seven studies considered the relationship between birthweight and hip BMD and, in most, birthweight was not a significant predictor of hip BMD. Three studies assessing the relationship between weight at 1 year and adult bone mass all reported that higher weight at one was associated with greater BMC of the lumbar spine and hip.Higher birthweight is associated with greater BMC of the lumbar spine and hip in adulthood. The consistency of these associations, across a range of settings, provides compelling evidence for the intrauterine programming of skeletal development and tracking of skeletal size from infancy to adulthood.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00198-010-1344-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA

Publication Date

05/2011

Volume

22

Pages

1323 - 1334

Addresses

MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK. jb@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Keywords

Radius, Ulna, Femur Neck, Lumbar Vertebrae, Hip Joint, Humans, Osteoporosis, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Birth Weight, Pregnancy, Bone Density, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Infant, Newborn, Female, Male, Young Adult