European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 163, Issue 8, pp 457–461 | Cite as

Gender differences in newborn subcutaneous fat distribution

  • Gerardo Rodríguez
  • Mª Pilar Samper
  • Purificación Ventura
  • Luis A. Moreno
  • José L. Olivares
  • José Mª Pérez-González
Original Paper


The pattern and distribution of subcutaneous fat in term and preterm newborns has been assessed by skinfold thicknesses (ST), describing gender and gestational age variations. Weight, length and ST (triceps, biceps, subscapular and suprailiac) were measured in 4634 neonates (2445 males and 2189 females) aged from 32 to 41 gestational weeks. Central to total skinfold ratio (CTS), (suprailiac + subscapular)/sum of 4 ST, was calculated. Males were heavier and longer than females. The sum of 4 ST and CTS was higher in females at every gestational age (with significant differences from 35 weeks) and also the sum of 4 ST per kg body weight (P<0.05 from 32–33 weeks). Throughout the gestational period, ST increased significantly (P<0.0001) but CTS did not show variations, neither in males nor in females. Conclusion: term and preterm females have a more centralised pattern and more amount of subcutaneous fat than males. Central to total skinfold ratio must be considered as an index of centripetal fat store which is independant of gestational age.


Fat distribution Fat mass Gender differences Gestational changes Skinfold thicknesses 



biceps skinfold thickness


central to total skinfold ratio


dual energy X-ray absorptiometry


fat-free mass


fat mass


subscapular skinfold thickness


suprailiac skinfold thickness


skinfold thickness


the sum of the four skinfolds (biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac)


triceps skinfold thickness


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerardo Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Mª Pilar Samper
    • 1
  • Purificación Ventura
    • 1
  • Luis A. Moreno
    • 2
  • José L. Olivares
    • 1
  • José Mª Pérez-González
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Pediatría, Radiología y Medicina FísicaFacultad de Medicina, Universidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain
  2. 2.E. U. de Ciencias de la SaludUniversity of Zaragoza Spain

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