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BACKGROUND: Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolic profiling quantifies a large number of metabolites. From adolescence, specific metabolites are influenced by age, sex and body mass index; data on early-life metabolic profiles are limited. We investigated associations between sex, birth weight, weight and adiposity with NMR metabolic profile at age 12 months. METHODS: The plasma NMR metabolic profile was quantified in infants (n = 485) from the Barwon Infant Study. Associations between 74 metabolites and sex, birth weight z-score and 12-month measures (weight z-score, skinfold thickness, weight-for-length z-score) were examined using linear regression models. RESULTS: Several cholesterol and fatty acid measures were higher (0.2-0.3 SD) in girls than in boys; we observed modest sex-specific associations of birth weight z-scores and 12-month sum of skinfold thicknesses with metabolites. The pattern of associations between weight z-score and weight-for-length z-score with metabolites at 12 months was more pronounced in girls, particularly for fatty acid ratios. CONCLUSIONS: We identified sex differences in the infant metabolic profile. Sex-specific patterns observed differ from those reported in older children and adults. We also identified modest cross-sectional associations between anthropometric and adiposity measures and metabolites, some of which were sex specific.

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Journal article


Pediatr Res

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