Atherosclerosis risk factors in prepubertal children in relation to their birth weight and gestational age
1 Clinical Department of Paediatrics, Paediatrics Clinic in Bytom, School of Health Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Bytom, Poland. Head of the Department and Clinic: Professor Anna Obuchowicz, MD, PhD
2 Department of Nursing, Department of Health Promotion and Community Nursing, School of Health Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Katowice, Poland. Head of the Department: Professor Tomasz Irzyniec, MD, PhD
Correspondence: Beata Kaźmierczak-Pilch, MD, PhD, Clinical Department of Paediatrics, Paediatrics Clinic in Bytom, Specialist Hospital No. 2, Batorego 15, 41-902 Bytom, Poland, tel.: +48 32 786 14 98, e-mail:
Pediatr Med Rodz 2019, 15 (1), p. 57–66
DOI: 10.15557/PiMR.2019.0010

According to Barker’s hypothesis, intrauterine malnutrition results in abnormal metabolism of a foetus and a tendency to develop atherosclerotic disease in the future life. Aim of the research: Assessment of atherosclerosis risk factors in prepubertal children, depending on their birth weight and duration of pregnancy. Material and methods: 113 children aged 7–9 were divided into groups: born prematurely, with low body weight (group I – 37 people), born on time, with low body weight (group II – 36 people) and born on time, with normal body weight (group K – 40 people) and groups of children born with body weight <10th or ≥10th percentile for gestational age, regardless of the length of pregnancy. Demographic and social data on health behaviours and health status of the children and their parents were collected. Anthropometric measurements and blood pressure was taken. Body composition was estimated with bioelectrical impedance method. Glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood were determined with the strip test method. Results: Compared to the other groups, in group K, significantly higher mean values and significantly higher occurrence of high centile values of body mass index and waist circumference as well as insignificantly higher rate of adipose tissue and abnormal glucose and cholesterol concentrations were found. In children born prematurely or on time, with birth weight <10th percentile, the centiles of waist circumference were significantly less frequent. A positive correlation was found in the body mass index of children born at the time with low body mass and body mass index of their mothers. Among the independent variables which influence the number of atherosclerosis risk factors, the importance of parental obesity was confirmed. Conclusions: 1) Premature birth or birth with low birth weight does not increase the risk of obesity or elevated cholesterol and glucose levels in the prepubertal age. 2) The occurrence of atherosclerosis risk factors in prepubertal children (regardless of duration of gestation and birth weight) is associated with obesity/overnutrition of parents.

Keywords: birth weight, duration of pregnancy, risk factors for atherosclerosis, prepubertal age