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Lower muscle strength is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes in later life. The variation in muscle strength between individuals is only partly accounted for by factors in adult life such as body size and physical activity. The aim of this review was to assess the strength of the association between intrauterine development (indicated by birth weight) and subsequent muscle strength.Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that assessed the association between birth weight and subsequent muscle strength.Nineteen studies met inclusion criteria with 17 studies showing that higher birth weight was associated with greater muscle strength. Grip strength was used as a single measure of muscle strength in 15 studies. Meta-analysis (13 studies, 20 481 participants, mean ages 9.3 to 67.5) showed a 0.86 kg (95% CI 0.58, 1.15) increase in muscle strength per additional kilogram of birth weight, after adjustment for age, gender and height at the time of strength measurement.This review has found consistent evidence of a positive association between birth weight and muscle strength which is maintained across the lifecourse. Future work will be needed to elucidate the biological mechanisms underlying this association, but it suggests the potential benefit of an early intervention to help people maintain muscle strength in later life.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s12603-012-0053-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

The journal of nutrition, health & aging

Publication Date

07/2012

Volume

16

Pages

609 - 615

Addresses

School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK. rd@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Body Weight, Birth Weight, Body Height, Hand Strength, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Muscle Development, Databases, Factual, Muscle Strength