Determinants of infant growth in four age windows: a twin study

R.N. Touwslager*, M.J.F. Gielen, C. Derom, A.L.M. Mulder, W.J.M. Gerver, L.J.I. Zimmermann, A.J. Houben, C.D.A. Stehouwer, R. Vlietinck, R.J. Loos, M.P.A. Zeegers

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: To identify determinants of growth during infancy. STUDY DESIGN: The sample included 424 twin pairs from the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey. Multilevel regression analysis was performed and intrapair growth correlations were calculated. The main outcome measure was growth, measured in g/kg/d (0-1 month) or in change in weight z-score (0-6, 6-12 and 12-24 months). RESULTS: Growth during infancy was associated with birth weight and gestational age. One z-score increase in birth weight resulted in -1.77 g/kg/d less growth from 0-1 month (P < .0001). The effect size decreased with age until -0.02 (P = .70) z-scores less growth from 12 to 24 months. Corresponding numbers for one z-score increase in gestational age decreased from 0.78 (P = .001) to 0.06 (P = .40). From 12 to 24 months, paternal height had a significant positive effect. The difference in growth similarity within the twin pair between monozygotic and dizygotic twins increased from non-significant from 0 to 1 month (P = .49) to a monozygotic:dizygotic ratio approximating 2:1 from 12 to 24 months (P = .002). CONCLUSION: From 0 to 1 month, environmental factors are most important for growth, whereas genetic factors become more important over time. This is a first step in identifying age windows for future counseling and interventions on the effects of accelerated growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-572.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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