Body composition of term healthy Indian newborns

Authors : Jain V, Kurpad AV, Kumar B, Devi S, Sreenivas V, Paul VK

Publication Year : 2016

Abstract :


Previous anthropometry-based studies have suggested that in Indian newborns fat mass is conserved at the expense of lean tissue. This study was undertaken to assess the body composition of Indian newborns and to evaluate its relation with parents' anthropometry, birth weight and early postnatal weight gain.


Body composition of healthy term singleton newborns was assessed by the deuterium dilution method in the second week of life. Anthropometry was carried out at birth and on the day of study.


Data from 127 babies were analyzed. Birth weight was 2969±383 g. Body composition was assessed at a mean age of 12.7±3.1 days. Fat and fat-free mass were 354±246 and 2764±402 g, respectively, and fat mass percentage (FM%) was 11.3±7.3%. Birth weight and fat-free mass were higher among boys, but no gender difference was noted in FM%. Birth weight was positively correlated with fat as well as fat-free mass but not FM%. FM% showed positive correlation with gain in weight from birth to the day of assessment.


This is the first study from India to report body composition in newborns using deuterium dilution. FM% was comparable to that reported for Western populations for babies of similar age. Our results suggest that the percentage of fat and fat-free mass is relatively constant over the range of birth weights included in this study, and greater weight gain during early postnatal period results in greater increase in FM%.