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1.  Differences in body composition and metabolic status between white UK and Asian Indian children (EarlyBird 24 and the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study) 
Pediatric Obesity  2012;7(5):347-354.
What is already known about this subject
South Asian children at birth are thinner, but more adipose and more resistant to insulin than White Caucasian children.South Asian adults are more adipose and more insulin resistant, but their greater adiposity does not fully explain the difference in insulin resistance.South Asian children at 8 y are more insulin resistant than White Caucasian children.
What this study adds
The BMI of South Asian children at 6 y is distributed normally, while that of White Caucasian children is heavily skewed.South Asian children at 6 y are slimmer, and the boys, but not the girls, are more adipose.South Asian boys, but not girls are more insulin resistant. Both genders metabolically less healthy, but their adiposity explains only part of the difference.
The concept of the ‘thin–fat’ Indian baby is well established, but there is little comparative data in older children, and none that examines the metabolic correlates. Accordingly, we investigated the impact of body composition on the metabolic profiles of Asian Indian and white UK children.
Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, sum of four skin-folds, % body fat (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), glucose, insulin, insulin resistance (Homeostasis Model Assessment), trigylcerides, cholesterol [total, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein {HDL}, total/HDL ratio] and blood pressure (systolic, diastolic and mean arterial) were measured in 262 white Caucasian children from Plymouth, UK (aged 6.9 ± 0.2 years, 57% male), and 626 Indian children from rural villages around Pune, India (aged 6.2 ± 0.1 years, 53% male).
Indian children had a significantly lower BMI (boys: −2.1 kg m−2, girls: −3.2 kg m−2, both P < 0.001), waist circumference (P < 0.001) and skin-fold thickness (P < 0.001) than white UK children, yet their % body fat was higher (boys +4.5%, P < 0.001, girls: +0.5%, P = 0.61). Independently of the differences in age and % body fat, the Indian children had higher fasting glucose (boys +0.52 mmol L−1, girls +0.39 mmol L−1, both P < 0.001), higher insulin (boys +1.69, girls +1.87 mU L−1, both P < 0.01) and were more insulin resistant (boys +0.25, girls +0.28 HOMA-IR units, both P < 0.001).
The ‘thin–fat’ phenotype observed in Indian babies is also apparent in pre-pubertal Indian children who have greater adiposity than white UK children despite significantly lower BMIs. Indian children are more insulin resistant than white UK children, even after adjustment for adiposity.
PMCID: PMC3541477  PMID: 22941936
Body composition; children; metabolic status; transracial
2.  Association of genetic variation in FTO with risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes with data from 96,551 East and South Asians 
Diabetologia  2011;55(4):981-995.
FTO harbours the strongest known obesity-susceptibility locus in Europeans. While there is growing evidence for a role for FTO in obesity risk in Asians, its association with type 2 diabetes, independently of BMI, remains inconsistent. To test whether there is an association of the FTO locus with obesity and type 2 diabetes, we conducted a meta-analysis of 32 populations including 96,551 East and South Asians.
All studies published on the association between FTO-rs9939609 (or proxy [r2 > 0.98]) and BMI, obesity or type 2 diabetes in East or South Asians were invited. Each study group analysed their data according to a standardised analysis plan. Association with type 2 diabetes was also adjusted for BMI. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to pool all effect sizes.
The FTO-rs9939609 minor allele increased risk of obesity by 1.25-fold/allele (p = 9.0 × 10−19), overweight by 1.13-fold/allele (p = 1.0 × 10−11) and type 2 diabetes by 1.15-fold/allele (p = 5.5 × 10−8). The association with type 2 diabetes was attenuated after adjustment for BMI (OR 1.10-fold/allele, p = 6.6 × 10−5). The FTO-rs9939609 minor allele increased BMI by 0.26 kg/m2 per allele (p = 2.8 × 10−17), WHR by 0.003/allele (p = 1.2 × 10−6), and body fat percentage by 0.31%/allele (p = 0.0005). Associations were similar using dominant models. While the minor allele is less common in East Asians (12–20%) than South Asians (30–33%), the effect of FTO variation on obesity-related traits and type 2 diabetes was similar in the two populations.
FTO is associated with increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, with effect sizes similar in East and South Asians and similar to those observed in Europeans. Furthermore, FTO is also associated with type 2 diabetes independently of BMI.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-011-2370-7) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC3296006  PMID: 22109280
Asians; FTO; Meta-analysis; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes
3.  Vitamin B12 and folate concentrations during pregnancy and insulin resistance in the offspring: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study 
Diabetologia  2007;51(1):29-38.
Raised maternal plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations predict small size at birth, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. We studied the association between maternal vitamin B12, folate and tHcy status during pregnancy, and offspring adiposity and insulin resistance at 6 years.
In the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study we studied 700 consecutive eligible pregnant women in six villages. We measured maternal nutritional intake and circulating concentrations of folate, vitamin B12, tHcy and methylmalonic acid (MMA) at 18 and 28 weeks of gestation. These were correlated with offspring anthropometry, body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan) and insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-R]) at 6 years.
Two-thirds of mothers had low vitamin B12 (<150 pmol/l), 90% had high MMA (>0.26 μmol/l) and 30% had raised tHcy concentrations (>10 μmol/l); only one had a low erythrocyte folate concentration. Although short and thin (BMI), the 6-year-old children were relatively adipose compared with the UK standards (skinfold thicknesses). Higher maternal erythrocyte folate concentrations at 28 weeks predicted higher offspring adiposity and higher HOMA-R (both p < 0.01). Low maternal vitamin B12 (18 weeks; p = 0.03) predicted higher HOMA-R in the children. The offspring of mothers with a combination of high folate and low vitamin B12 concentrations were the most insulin resistant.
Low maternal vitamin B12 and high folate status may contribute to the epidemic of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in India.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC2100429  PMID: 17851649
Adiposity; Folate; Insulin resistance; Maternal nutrition; Offspring; Pregnancy; Vitamin B12
4.  Size at birth and plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 concentrations. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1995;73(4):287-293.
OBJECTIVE--To test the hypothesis that reduced fetal growth leads to altered plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentrations in childhood. DESIGN--A follow up study of 4 year old children whose birth weights were recorded, and of 7 year old children whose weight, length, head circumference, and placental weight were measured at birth. SETTING--Pune, India, and Salisbury, England. SUBJECTS--200 children born during October 1987 to April 1989 in the King Edward Memorial Hospital, Pune, weighing over 2.0 kg at birth and not requiring special care, and 244 children born during July 1984 to February 1985 in the Salisbury Health District and still living there. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Plasma IGF-1 concentrations. RESULTS--In both groups of children, and consistent with findings in other studies, plasma IGF-1 concentrations were higher in taller and heavier children, and higher in girls than boys. Allowing for sex and current size, concentrations were inversely related to birth weight (Pune p = 0.002; Salisbury p = 0.003). Thus at any level of weight or height, children of lower birth weight had higher IGF-1 concentrations. The highest concentrations were in children who were below average birth weight and above average weight or height when studied. Systolic blood pressures were higher in children with higher IGF-1 concentrations (Pune p = 0.01; Salisbury p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS--Children of lower birth weight develop higher circulating concentrations of IGF-1 than expected for their height and weight. This is consistent with the hypothesis that under-nutrition in utero leads to reprogramming of the IGF-1 axis. The increase of plasma IGF-1 concentrations in low birthweight children may also be linked to postnatal catch-up growth. High IGF-1 concentrations may be one of the mechanisms linking reduced fetal growth and high blood pressure in later life.
PMCID: PMC1511321  PMID: 7492190
5.  Fasting plasma magnesium concentrations and glucose disposal in diabetes. 
Fasting plasma concentrations of magnesium were measured by neutron activation analysis in 30 non-diabetics and 87 diabetics (55 non-insulin-treated, 32 insulin treated). Plasma concentrations of magnesium were lowest in the insulin treated group (mean 0.84 (SEM 0.01) mmol/1; 2.0 (0.02) mg/100 ml), intermediate in the non-diabetics (mean 0.89 (SEM 0.01) mmol/1; 2.2 (0.02) mg/100 ml), and highest in the non-insulin-treated diabetics (mean 0.95 (SEM 0.02) mmol/1; 2.3 (0.05) mg/100 ml). In all diabetics plasma magnesium concentrations were inversely related to plasma glucose values (rs = -0.33; p less than 0.01) and in non-insulin-treated patients to plasma insulin concentrations (rs = -0.28; p less than 0.05), the former confirming previous observations. In 67 of the diabetics the KG constant for disposal rate of glucose during a standard intravenous glucose tolerance test was directly related to fasting plasma magnesium concentrations, and this relation persisted after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, type of treatment, and glucose and insulin values. This direct relation of plasma magnesium concentration with glucose disposal was unexplained by its influence on insulin secretion but was related to insulin sensitivity; hence magnesium may be an important determinant of insulin sensitivity in maturity onset diabetes.
PMCID: PMC1442636  PMID: 6423182

Results 1-6 (6)