Birth weight, adult weight, and cardiovascular biomarkers: Evidence from the Cardiovascular Young Finns Study

Jaakko Pehkonen, Jutta Viinikainen, Jaana T. Kari, Petri Böckerman, Terho Lehtimäki, Jorma Viikari, Olli Raitakari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This study quantifies the causal effect of birth weight on cardiovascular biomarkers in adulthood using the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS). We apply a multivariable Mendelian randomization (MVMR) method that provides a novel approach to improve inference in causal analysis based on a mediation framework. The results show that birth weight is linked to triglyceride levels (β = −0.294; 95% CI [−0.591, 0.003]) but not to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (β = 0.007; 95% CI [−0.168, 0.183]). The total effect of birth weight on triglyceride levels is partly offset by a mediation pathway linking birth weight to adult BMI (β = 0.111; 95% CI [−0.013, 0.234]). The negative total effect is consistent with the fetal programming hypothesis. The positive indirect effect via adult BMI highlights the persistence of body weight throughout a person's life and the adverse effects of high BMI on health. The results are consistent with previous findings that both low birth weight and weight gain increase health risks in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106894
JournalPREVENTIVE MEDICINE
Volume154
Early online date19 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Adult BMI
  • Birth weight
  • Causal mediation
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Multivariable Mendelian randomization
  • Triglycerides

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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