Women with more body fat at birth have reduced fertility and higher cancer risk as adults

September 1, 2006

Women who have more body fat at birth do not exhibit ovarian suppression after moderate physical exercise and have higher levels of estradiol as adults compared to women with less body fat, which may reduce fertility and increase cancer risk, according to a study published online August 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Women who have more body fat at birth do not exhibit ovarian suppression after moderate physical exercise and have higher levels of estradiol as adults compared to women with less body fat, which may reduce fertility and increase cancer risk, according to a study published online August 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Grazyna Jasienska, PhD, of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and colleagues examined the relationship between nutritional status at birth and the sensitivity of adult ovarian function to energetic stress in 106 Polish women for a full menstrual cycle.

Women who had more body fat at birth (those in the highest tertile based on the ponderal index) had 37% to 46% higher levels of estradiol than women who were in the lowest and middle tertiles, respectively. These women also did not exhibit ovarian suppression after moderate levels of physical exercise, according to the study.

Jasienska G, Thune I, Ellison PT. Fatness at birth predicts adult susceptibility to ovarian suppression: an empirical test of the Predictive Adaptive Response hypothesis. Proc Nat Acad Sci. (Published online before print August 14, 2006 at http:// http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0605488103v1.)