Studies of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and adiposity have produced conflicting results, and the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and telomere length throughout life remains unclear. We therefore tested association of adult LTL measured in 5,598 participants with: i) childhood growth measures (BMI and age at adiposity rebound (AR)); ii) change in BMI from childhood to adulthood and iii) adult BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), body adiposity index (BAI). Childhood BMI at AR was positively associated with LTL at 31 years in women (P = 0.041). Adult BMI and WHR in both men (P = 0.025 and P = 0.049, respectively) and women (P = 0.029 and P = 0.008, respectively), and BAI in women (P = 0.021) were inversely associated with LTL at 31 years. An increase in standardised BMI between early childhood and adulthood was associated with shorter adult LTL in women (P = 0.008). We show that LTL is inversely associated with multiple measures of adiposity in both men and women. Additionally, BMI increase in women from childhood to adulthood is associated with shorter telomeres at age 31, potentially indicating accelerated biological ageing.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0099133

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2014

Volume

9

Keywords

Adiposity, Adolescent, Body Mass Index, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Finland, Humans, Infant, Leukocytes, Middle Aged, Telomere