An examination of sex differences in associations between cord blood adipokines and childhood adiposity

Jillian Ashley-Martin, Maria Karaceper, Linda Dodds, Tye E. Arbuckle, Adrienne S. Ettinger, William D. Fraser, Gina Muckle, Patricia Monnier, Mandy Fisher, Stefan Kuhle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Though the physiological roles of adipokines in metabolism, insulin resistance and satiety are clear, literature regarding associations between cord blood adipokine levels and childhood adiposity is equivocal. Objectives: To determine whether cord blood levels of leptin and adiponectin are associated with adiposity in children 2 to 5 years of age, and whether such associations are modified by sex. Methods: Leptin and adiponectin levels were measured in cord blood and anthropometric measures were completed on 550 children enrolled in the Maternal–Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals Child Development Plus study (MIREC-CD Plus). We used multivariable linear and Poisson regression models to determine associations between cord blood adipokine levels and child body mass index (BMI), triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness and risk of overweight/obesity and to assess effect modification by child sex. Results: Cord blood adiponectin was significantly associated with modest increases in BMI and the sum of triceps and subscapular skinfold z-scores in boys but not girls. A doubling of adiponectin levels was associated with a 30% increased risk of overweight/obesity in boys (RR = 1.30; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.64). Leptin was not associated with anthropometric measures in either sex. Conclusions: The observed associations between adiponectin and adiposity in boys were statistically significant, of moderate magnitude, and underscore the value of considering sex-specific patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12587
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • body mass index
  • childhood obesity
  • cord blood adipokines
  • skinfold

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