Original research| Volume 23, ISSUE 5, P493-497, May 2020

Download started.


Association of sport participation in preterm and full term born children and body and fat mass indices from age 3 to 14 years

Published:November 21, 2019DOI:



      To assess the association of gestational age groups (VP: <32 weeks, MP: 32–33 weeks, LP: 34–36 weeks and FT: ≥37 weeks of gestation) and club sport participation in childhood on body mass index (BMI), fat free mass index (FFMI) and fat mass index (FMI).


      Longitudinal, cross sectional.


      BMI (age 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14 years; N = 10581–14702) and FFMI/FMI (age 7, 11 and 14 years; N = 10446–12996) and consistent club sport participation at age 5, 7 and 11 years (ranging from never participating to participating at all three ages) were assessed prospectively. These were compared by gestational age and their associations with BMI and FMI were investigated, while controlling for confounders (socio-economic, maternal obesity, child related, diet).


      BMI and FFMI was lower in VP or MP until age 7, but no differences were found in BMI, FFMI or FMI after age 11 with regard to gestational age. Consistent club sport participation from age 5–11 was unrelated to BMI at ages 3–7. However, FT children with club sport participation had lower BMI and FMI at ages 11 and 14; but this association was not found in VP or MP.


      During adolescence body composition of VP and MP become similar to FT born peers. Consistent sport participation reduces BMI and FMI in FT only. In VP or MP children modifying effects of sport on body composition might not be detected due to the catch-up growth in weight, height and fat mass at the same time.


      BMI (body mass index), MCS (Millennium cohort study), FMI (fat mass index), FFMI (fat free mass index), MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity), CI (confidence interval)


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Basterfield L.
        • Reilly J.K.
        • Pearce M.S.
        • et al.
        Longitudinal associations between sports participation, body composition and physical activity from childhood to adolescence.
        J Sci Med Sport. 2015; 18: 178-182
        • Li Y.
        • Quigley M.A.
        • Dattani N.
        • et al.
        The contribution of gestational age, area deprivation and mother’s country of birth to ethnic variations in infant mortality in England and Wales: a national cohort study using routinely collected data.
        PLoS One. 2018; 13e0195146
        • Johnson M.J.
        • Wootton S.A.
        • Leaf A.A.
        • et al.
        Preterm birth and body composition at term equivalent age: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Pediatrics. 2012; (peds): 2011-3379
        • Scheurer J.M.
        • Zhang L.
        • Gray H.L.
        • et al.
        Body composition trajectories from infancy to preschool in children born premature versus full-term.
        J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017; 64: e147-e153
        • Fewtrell M.S.
        • Lucas A.
        • Cole T.J.
        • et al.
        Prematurity and reduced body fatness at 8-12 y of age.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 80: 436-440
        • Parkinson J.R.
        • Hyde M.J.
        • Gale C.
        • et al.
        Preterm birth and the metabolic syndrome in adult life: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Pediatrics. 2013; 131: e1240-1263
        • Hovi P.
        • Andersson S.
        • Eriksson J.G.
        • et al.
        Glucose regulation in young adults with very low birth weight.
        N Engl J Med. 2007; 356: 2053-2063
        • Spiegler J.
        • Eves R.
        • Mendonca M.
        • et al.
        Association of physical activity and cardiorespiratory function or BMI and body composition in preterm-born individuals: a systematic review.
        Acta Paediatr. 2019; 108: 1205-1214
        • Vardar-Yagli N.
        • Inal-Ince D.
        • Saglam M.
        • et al.
        Pulmonary and extrapulmonary features in bronchopulmonary dysplasia: a comparison with healthy children.
        J Phys Ther Sci. 2015; 27: 1761-1765
        • Griffiths L.J.
        • Sera F.
        • Cortina-Borja M.
        • et al.
        Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time: cross-sectional and prospective associations with adiposity in the Millennium Cohort Study.
        BMJ Open. 2016; 6
        • Adegboye A.R.A.
        • Andersen L.B.
        • Wedderkopp N.
        • et al.
        Influence of parental overweight on the association of birth weight and fat distribution later in childhood.
        Obes Facts. 2012; 5: 784-794
        • Euser A.M.
        • Finken M.J.
        • Keijzer-Veen M.G.
        • et al.
        Associations between prenatal and infancy weight gain and BMI, fat mass, and fat distribution in young adulthood: a prospective cohort study in males and females born very preterm.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2005; 81: 480-487
        • Labayen I.
        • Ruiz J.R.
        • Vicente-Rodriguez G.
        • et al.
        Early life programming of abdominal adiposity in adolescents: the HELENA study.
        Diabetes Care. 2009; 32: 2120-2122
        • Mostafa T.
        • Ploubidis G.B.
        Millennium Cohort Study Sixth Survey 2015-2016 (Age 14): Technical Report on Response.
        • Poulsen G.
        • Kurinczuk J.J.
        • Wolke D.
        • et al.
        Accurate reporting of expected delivery date by mothers 9 months after birth.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2011; 64: 1444-1450
        • Fenton T.R.
        • Sauve R.S.
        Using the LMS method to calculate z-scores for the Fenton preterm infant growth chart.
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007; 61: 1380-1385
        • Flegal K.M.
        • Cole T.J.
        Construction of LMS Parameters for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 Growth Charts, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
        National Center for Health Statistics, 2013
        • Cole T.J.
        • Freeman J.V.
        • Preece M.A.
        Body mass index reference curves for the UK, 1990.
        Arch Dis Childhood. 1995; 73: 25-29
        • MCSVI
        Millennium cohort study: sixth survey, 2015.
        in: Service. UD UK Data Service. 2nd ed. University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies, 2017
        • Jones E.
        • Ketende S.
        • Sosthenes C.
        Millennium Cohort Study: User Guide to Analysing MCS Data using SPSS.
        Centre for Longitudinal Studies Institute of Education, London2010
        • Weber D.R.
        • Moore R.H.
        • Leonard M.B.
        • et al.
        Fat and lean BMI reference curves in children and adolescents and their utility in identifying excess adiposity compared with BMI and percentage body fat.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2013; 98: 49-56
        • Nagel G.
        • Wabitsch M.
        • Galm C.
        • et al.
        Determinants of obesity in the Ulm research on metabolism, exercise and lifestyle in children (URMEL-ICE).
        Eur J Pediatr. 2009; 168: 1259-1267
        • Malhotra A.
        • Noakes T.
        • Phinney S.
        It is time to bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity: you cannot outrun a bad diet.
        Br J Sports Med. 2015; 49: 967-968
        • Oliveira A.
        • Monteiro A.
        • Jacome C.
        • et al.
        Effects of group sports on health-related physical fitness of overweight youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017; 27: 604-611
        • Lee J.E.
        • Pope Z.
        • Gao Z.
        The role of youth sports in promoting children’s physical activity and preventing pediatric obesity: a systematic review.
        Behav Med. 2018; 44: 62-76
        • Metcalf B.S.
        • Hosking J.
        • Jeffery A.N.
        • et al.
        Fatness leads to inactivity, but inactivity does not lead to fatness: a longitudinal study in children (EarlyBird 45).
        Arch Dis Child. 2011; 96: 942-947
        • Kajantie E.
        • Strang-Karlsson S.
        • Hovi P.
        • et al.
        Adults born at very low birth weight exercise less than their peers born at term.
        J Pediatr. 2010; 157 (610–616, 616 e611)
        • James E.
        • Wood C.L.
        • Nair H.
        • et al.
        Preterm birth and the timing of puberty: a systematic review.
        BMC Pediatr. 2018; 18: 3
        • Bilgin A.
        • Wolke D.
        Maternal sensitivity in parenting preterm children: a meta-analysis.
        Pediatrics. 2015; 136 (e177-93)
        • Woo Baidal J.A.
        • Locks L.M.
        • Cheng E.R.
        • et al.
        Risk factors for childhood obesity in the first 1,000 days: a systematic review.
        Am J Prev Med. 2016; 50: 761-779
        • Spiegler J.
        • Mendonca M.
        • Wolke D.
        Prospective study of physical activity of preterm born children from age 5 to 14 years.
        J Pediatr. 2019; 208 (66–73 e67)
        • Braun K.V.N.
        • Doernberg N.
        • Schieve L.
        • et al.
        Birth prevalence of cerebral palsy: a population-based study.
        Pediatrics. 2016; 137: 1