Parental Determinants of Neonatal Anthropometry

  • Gareth Hynes
  • Cyrus Cooper
  • Elaine Dennison


Evidence is accruing that growth early in life has a profound effect on that individual’s risk of many chronic diseases in late adulthood. This chapter attempts to unravel the various ways in which parents influence the anthropometry of their offspring. Much research has been undertaken in this area over the years and there is information linking a myriad of factors with foetal growth. It is the following factors, however, that are the most important and will be discussed here: age, race, parental birth anthropometry, parental height, parental weight, maternal weight gain during pregnancy, maternal activity, diet including calorie, protein and micronutrient intake, parity and interpregnancy interval, socioeconomic status, maternal pathology (hypertension, malaria, anaemia and diabetes) and lastly exposure to toxins (cigarette smoke and alcohol). The literature has been reviewed and a summary is presented to the reader. Where possible, conclusions are drawn as to the relative importance of each factor in determining neonatal anthropometry. The sections also include putative biological mechanisms that may underpin any such link where known, and the potential implications the research has on child health, where this is appropriate. The chapter concludes by briefly examining the debate surrounding the evolutionary origins of the parental determinants of neonatal anthropometry.


Black Woman Foetal Growth Prepregnancy Weight Maternal Weight Gain Pregnancy Weight Gain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Small for gestational age


Intrauterine growth restriction


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MRC Epidemiology Resource CentreSouthampton General HospitalSouthamptonUK

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