Anthropometry of Twins

  • Sergio Demarini


Twins are smaller than singletons at birth, due to both shorter gestational age and intrauterine growth restriction. Additionally, an intrapair discordance in birth weight is quite frequent. In twins, as in singletons, body weight and body composition vary with gestational age. However, in each pair of twins, a difference in birth weight, although correlated with, is not proportional to differences in body composition components. When compared to singletons, normally grown twins show similar body composition components. In contrast, growth-restricted twins have lower lean mass and possibly lower fat mass and bone mineral content when compared to singletons matched for gestational age. During the first 2 years of life, twins show a catch-up growth but do not reach the body size of singletons. Between 2 and 9 years of age, height in twins is only marginally lower than singletons, whereas weight gain is considerably less. Monozygotic twins are both lighter and shorter than dizygotic twins. Birth weight, parental height, zygosity, and gender are the determinants of somatic growth of twins in the first 9 years of life. In adulthood, twins seem to have a slightly lower weight than singletons. With regard to body composition, there is a persisting correlation between birth weight and body composition components.


Birth Weight Body Composition Bone Mineral Content Fetal Growth Lean Mass 
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.



Appropriate for gestational age


Bone mineral content


Body mass index


Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry


Dizygotic twins


Fat body mass


Lean body mass


Monozygotic twins


Small for gestational age


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of NeonatologyIRCCS Burlo GarofoloTriesteItaly

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