evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Neonatal anthropometry: the thin–fat Indian baby. The Pune Maternal Nutrition Study

In Under-nutrition on May 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm

International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 173–180. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.802219

CS Yajnik, CHD Fall, KJ Coyaji, SS Hirve, S Rao, DJP Barker, C Joglekar, and S Kellingray


“OBJECTIVE: To examine body size and fat measurements of babies born in rural India and compare them with white Caucasian babies born in an industrialised country.

“DESIGN: Community-based observational study in rural India, and comparison with data from an earlier study in the UK, measured using similar methods.

“SUBJECTS: A total of 631 term babies born in six rural villages, near the city of Pune, Maharashtra, India, and 338 term babies born in the Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, UK.

“MEASUREMENTS: Maternal weight and height, and neonatal weight, length, head, mid-upper-arm and abdominal circumferences, subscapular and triceps skinfold thicknesses, and placental weight.

“RESULTS: The Indian mothers were younger, lighter, shorter and had a lower mean body mass index (BMI) (mean age, weight, height and BMI: 21.4 y, 44.6 kg, 1.52 m, and 18.2 kg/m2) than Southampton mothers (26.8 y, 63.6 kg, 1.63 m and 23.4 kg/m2). They gave birth to lighter babies (mean birthweight: 2.7 kg compared with 3.5 kg). Compared to Southampton babies, the Indian babies were small in all body measurements, the smallest being abdominal circumference (s.d. score: 2.38; 95% CI:2.48 to 2.29) and mid-arm circumference (s.d. score: 1.82; 95% CI: 1.89 to 1.75), while the most preserved measurement was the subscapular skinfold thickness (s.d. score: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.46). Skinfolds were relatively preserved in the lightest babies (below the 10th percentile of birthweight) in both populations.

“CONCLUSIONS: Small Indian babies have small abdominal viscera and low muscle mass, but preserve body fat during their intrauterine development. This body composition may persist postnatally and predispose to an insulin-resistant state.”


Other posts about India are available on this blog. Search using the tags above the main title of this post.

Are you working in a nutrition intervention or you are doing nutrition research in India? I would love to hear about your project, experience and opinions from you. Please, leave a comment here beneath or get in touch with me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: