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Margaret Mead
Research Article

Impact of Early Growth on Postprandial Responses in Later Life


BackgroundLow birth weight and slow growth during infancy are associated with increased rates of chronic diseases in adulthood. Associations with risk factors such as fasting glucose and lipids concentrations are weaker than expected based on associations with disease. This could be explained by differences in postprandial responses, which, however, have been little studied. Our aim was to examine the impact of growth during infancy on postprandial responses to a fast-food meal (FF-meal) and a meal, which followed the macro-nutrient composition of the dietary guidelines (REC-meal).Methodology/Principal Findings We recruited 24 overweight 65–75 year-old subjects, 12 with slow growth during infancy (SGI-group) and 12 with normal early growth. All the subjects were born at term. The study meals were isocaloric and both meals were consumed once. Plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides (TG) and free fatty acids (FFA) were measured in fasting state and over a 4-h period after both meals. Subjects who grew slowly during infancy were also smaller at birth. Fasting glucose, insulin or lipid concentrations did not differ significantly between the groups. The TG responses were higher for the SGI-group both during the FF-meal (P = 0.047) and the REC-meal (P = 0.058). The insulin responses were significantly higher for the SGI-group after the FF-meal (P = 0.036). Glucose and FFA responses did not differ significantly between the groups.ConclusionsSmall birth size and slow early growth predict postprandial TG and insulin responses. Elevated responses might be one explanation why subjects who were small at birth and experiencing slow growth in infancy are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in later life.