Changes and tracking of fat mass in pubertal girls

Eva E Vink, Silvia C C M van Coeverden*, Edgar G van Mil, Bram A Felius, Frank J M van Leerdam, Henriëtte A Delemarre-van de Waal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Puberty is a critical period in body composition development. The influence of puberty on the development of fat mass asks for further investigation. We investigated the development of fat mass during puberty in a longitudinal prospective study in 152 healthy nonobese white girls, initial ages between 9 to 12 years. The influence of menarcheal age and the existing of tracking of fat mass have been analyzed. In 10 years time, participants were measured on eight time points. Various anthropometric data were collected, breast development was staged according to Tanner and body composition was determined with the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. Calculations were made with the use of a linear mixed model. Fat mass increases from 7.9 kg (23.6%) at B1 to 18.5 kg (29.3%) at B5. Fat mass is higher in girls with an early menarche than in girls with a late menarche from B2. Girls in the quartile with initially the lowest fat mass have a chance of being in the same quartile after 10 years of 77% (P < 0.001). Girls in the quartile with initially the highest fat mass, have a risk of staying in the highest quartile of 55% (P < 0.001). Menarcheal age is of great influence on the development of fat mass. Girls with an early menarche, will have a bigger fat mass, especially at the end of puberty. Tracking of fat mass exists: a high amount of fat mass in early puberty will continue to exist at young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-51
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose Tissue/anatomy & histology
  • Adiposity/physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development/physiology
  • Body Height/physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight/physiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Organ Size
  • Puberty/physiology

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