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Does breast milk adiponectin affect BMI and cardio-metabolic markers in childhood?

  • Lenie van Rossem (a1), Henriette A. Smit (a1), Eef G. W. M. Lentjes (a2), Inge Maitimu-Smeele (a2), Bert Brunekreef (a3), Gerard H. Koppelman (a4) and Alet H. Wijga (a5)...


Observational studies suggest that breast-feeding is associated with a more favourable BMI and cardio-metabolic markers, but potential underlying mechanisms are unclear. As serum adiponectin has an important function in adults for glucose and lipid metabolism, we assessed 251 participants of the Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy birth cohort whether breast milk adiponectin is associated with childhood BMI and cardio-metabolic markers. We measured adiponectin levels in breast milk collected around 3 months after birth of the child and subsequently obtained weight and height repeatedly up to the age of 17 years. A medical examination (including blood pressure, glycated Hb and cholesterol) was performed at the age of 8, 12 and 16 years. We used multivariable mixed models to assess the association between breast milk adiponectin and BMI and cardio-metabolic markers at these ages. In models adjusted for exact age of breast milk collection, maternal age, presence of siblings, maternal BMI, pregnancy weight gain and child’s birth weight, each unit increase in log breast milk adiponectin (in ng/ml) was associated with a 0·28 lower BMI z score (95 % CI –0·56, 0·00) at 3 months. After the age of 1 year, there was a tendency towards a higher BMI z score with increased breast milk adiponectin at some ages, but this pattern was not consistent throughout childhood. There were no associations between breast milk adiponectin and any of the cardio-metabolic markers in childhood. We conclude that in our study with follow-up until 17 years of age, breast milk adiponectin has no long-term effect on BMI and cardio-metabolic health during childhood.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: L. van Rossem, fax +31 88 7555482, email


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