Aims: To study the effect of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system on growth, adiposity and systolic blood pressure (SBP) in early life in British-born South Asian (SA) and White European (WE) children. Methods: The effect of IGF-1 and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) over the first 4 years in 204 healthy SA and WE children was investigated by mixed linear regression modelling. This enabled inclusion of all follow-up observations and adjustment for repeated measures. Results: At birth, SA babies were shorter and lighter than WE babies. Over 4 years, SA ethnicity was associated with lower height, weight and body mass index (BMI) standard deviation score (SDS), higher subscapular/triceps skinfold thickness (Ss/Tr SFT) and lower SBP (all p < 0.01). IGF-1 was associated with greater height (p = 0.03), weight (p < 0.001) and BMI SDS (p < 0.001), and IGFBP-3 with greater weight SDS (p < 0.001), BMI SDS (p = 0.001), Ss/Tr SFT (p = 0.003) and SBP (p = 0.023). Conclusions: Over this first 4-year period of life, SA ethnicity was associated with being shorter, lighter, having more superficial truncal adiposity and lower SBP. IGFBP-3 (and not IGF-1) was independently associated with both superficial truncal adiposity and SBP, suggesting that IGFBP-3 is a potential metabolic and cardiovascular marker in healthy children in the early years of life.
- Insulin-like growth factor 1
- Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 3
- Systolic blood pressure
- Truncal fat