Associations between birth size and later height from infancy through adulthood: An individual based pooled analysis of 28 twin cohorts participating in the CODATwins project.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND:There is evidence that birth size is positively associated with height in later life, but it remains unclear whether this is explained by genetic factors or the intrauterine environment. AIM:To analyze the associations of birth weight, length and ponderal index with height from infancy through adulthood within mono- and dizygotic twin pairs, which provides insights into the role of genetic and environmental individual-specific factors. METHODS:This study is based on the data from 28 twin cohorts in 17 countries. The pooled data included 41,852 complete twin pairs (55% monozygotic and 45% same-sex dizygotic) with information on birth weight and a total of 112,409 paired height measurements at ages ranging from 1 to 69 years. Birth length was available for 19,881 complete twin pairs, with a total of 72,692 paired height measurements. The association between birth size and later height was analyzed at both the individual and within-pair level by linear regression analyses. RESULTS:Within twin pairs, regression coefficients showed that a 1-kg increase in birth weight and a 1-cm increase in birth length were associated with 1.14-4.25 cm and 0.18-0.90 cm taller height, respectively. The magnitude of the associations was generally greater within dizygotic than within monozygotic twin pairs, and this difference between zygosities was more pronounced for birth length. CONCLUSION:Both genetic and individual-specific environmental factors play a role in the association between birth size and later height from infancy to adulthood, with a larger role for genetics in the association with birth length than with birth weight.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Jelenkovic, A; Yokoyama, Y; Sund, R; Hur, Y-M; Harris, JR; Brandt, I; Nilsen, TS; Ooki, S; Ullemar, V; Almqvist, C; Magnusson, PKE; Saudino, KJ; Stazi, MA; Fagnani, C; Brescianini, S; Nelson, TL; Whitfield, KE; Knafo-Noam, A; Mankuta, D; Abramson, L; Cutler, TL; Hopper, JL; Llewellyn, CH; Fisher, A; Corley, RP; Huibregtse, BM; Derom, CA; Vlietinck, RF; Bjerregaard-Andersen, M; Beck-Nielsen, H; Sodemann, M; Krueger, RF; McGue, M; Pahlen, S; Alexandra Burt, S; Klump, KL; Dubois, L; Boivin, M; Brendgen, M; Dionne, G; Vitaro, F; Willemsen, G; Bartels, M; van Beijsterveld, CEM; Craig, JM; Saffery, R; Rasmussen, F; Tynelius, P; Heikkilä, K; Pietiläinen, KH; Bayasgalan, G; Narandalai, D; Haworth, CMA; Plomin, R; Ji, F; Ning, F; Pang, Z; Rebato, E; Tarnoki, AD; Tarnoki, DL; Kim, J; Lee, J; Lee, S; Sung, J; Loos, RJF; Boomsma, DI; Sørensen, TIA; Kaprio, J; Silventoinen, K

Published Date

  • May 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 120 /

Start / End Page

  • 53 - 60

PubMed ID

  • 29656171

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29656171

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-6232

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0378-3782

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2018.04.004


  • eng