University of Oulu

Laru, J, Pinola, P, Ojaniemi, M, et al. Low testosterone at age 31 associates with maternal obesity and higher body mass index from childhood until age 46: A birth cohort study. Andrology. 2023; 1-11.

Low testosterone at age 31 associates with maternal obesity and higher body mass index from childhood until age 46 : a birth cohort study

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Author: Laru, Johanna1,2; Pinola, Pekka1,2; Ojaniemi, Marja2,3;
Organizations: 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oulu University Hospital, Wellbeing Services County of North Ostrobothnia, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center, Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Children and Adolescents, Oulu University Hospital, Wellbeing Services County of North Ostrobothnia Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
5Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College London, London, UK
6Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, HFR – Cantonal Hospital of Fribourg and University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-08


Background: Low testosterone (T) levels in men associate with increased risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. However, most studies are cross-sectional with follow-up-time < 10 years, and data on early growth are limited.

Objective: To compare prenatal factors and body mass index (BMI) development from birth to age 46 in relation to low T at age 31.

Materials and methods: Men with low T (T < 12.1 nmol/L, n = 132) and men with normal T at age 31 (n = 2561) were derived from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Prenatal factors, longitudinal weight and height data from birth to age 14, and cross-sectional weight and height data at ages 31 and 46, and waist-hip-ratio (WHR) and T levels at age 31 were analyzed. Longitudinal modeling and timing of adiposity rebound (AR, second BMI rise at age 5–7 years) were calculated from fitted BMI curves. Results were adjusted for mother’s pre-pregnancy BMI and smoking status, birth weight for gestational age, alcohol consumption, education level, smoking status, and WHR at age 31.

Results: Neither gestational age nor birth weight was associated with low T at age 31; however, maternal obesity during gestation was more prevalent among men with low T (9.8% vs. 3.5%, adjusted aOR: 2.43 [1.19−4.98]). Men with low T had earlier AR (5.28 vs. 5.82, aOR: 0.73 [0.56−0.94]) and higher BMI (p < 0.001) from AR onward until age 46. Men with both early AR and low T had the highest BMI from AR onward.

Conclusions: In men, maternal obesity and early weight gain associate with lower T levels at age 31, independently of adulthood abdominal obesity. Given the well-known health risks related to obesity, and the rising prevalence of maternal obesity, the results of the present study emphasize the importance of preventing obesity that may also affect the later reproductive health of the offspring.

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Series: Andrology
ISSN: 2047-2919
ISSN-E: 2047-2927
ISSN-L: 2047-2919
Issue: Online first
DOI: 10.1111/andr.13492
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: Oulun Yliopiston Tukisäätiö; Oulun Yliopistollinen Sairaala; Sosiaali ja Terveysministeriö; Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos; European Regional Development Fund
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Andrology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.