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Consistent positive relationships have been found between birth weight and grip strength in adults but evidence in children is limited. In a prospective general population birth cohort (Southampton Women's Survey), grip strength and anthropometry (height and weight) were measured in 968 children at the age of 4 years. Mean (standard deviation (s.d.)) birth weight was 3.48 (0.52) kg. Birth weight, adjusted for sex and gestational age, was positively associated with grip strength (β = 0.22 kg/s.d. increase in adjusted birth weight; 95% CI 0.11, 0.34). The relationship was attenuated after adjustment for current height and weight such that it became non-significant (β = 0.03 kg/s.d. increase in adjusted birth weight; 95% CI-0.08, 0.14), suggesting that body size may be on the causal pathway. Early influences on muscle development appear to impact on grip strength in children, as well as adults.

Original publication




Journal article


J dev orig health dis

Publication Date





111 - 115