Low birth weight is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes in adults. The fetal programming hypothesis has shown that insulin resistance and its associated metabolic disturbances result from a poor gestational environment, for which low birth weight is a surrogate. An at-home questionnaire survey was performed on 660 middle school students (12-15 years) in Seoul, Korea, and 152 cases were randomly selected based on their birth weight. Subjects were divided into three groups according to birth weight. We recorded their birth weight and measured their current anthropometric data, blood pressure, lipid profile, HOMA-IR, and HOMA-β, and compared these parameters among the groups. The relation of birth weigh to physiological characteristics in adolescence was examined. Systolic blood pressure, lipid profiles, and fasting plasma glucose, HOMA-β were not significantly different among the groups, but diastolic blood pressure was lower in the third tertile. Insulin, C-peptide, and HOMA-IR were higher in the lower birth weight tertile. After adjustment for confounding factors, birth weight was inversely related to diastolic blood pressure, insulin, C-peptide, and HOMA-IR. We conclude that low birth weight may predict the risk of the insulin resistance and its progression over age, and that adequate gestational nutrition is therefore necessary to prevent low birth weight.
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