Int J Obes (Lond). 2022 Nov 17. doi: 10.1038/s41366-022-01239-4. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between body composition and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in healthy Chinese children aged 6-11 years.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study enrolled 406 healthy children (175 girls and 231 boys). The relative telomere length in their peripheral blood leukocytes was determined via quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to determine body fat content and regional fat distribution, appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASM), bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) at the total body (TB) and total body less head (TBLH) levels, and total body lean mass (TBLM) was then determined. ASM/height2 (ASMI) was also calculated.
RESULTS: After adjusting for potential covariates, multiple linear regression analyses revealed that neither body fat content nor regional body fat distribution were significantly associated with LTL (β = -8.48 × 10-6-1.44 × 10-1, p = 0.227-0.959). However, ASM, ASMI, TB BMC/TB BMD, TBLH BMC/TBLH BMD and TBLM were positively associated with LTL (β = 8.95 × 10-6-4.95 × 10-1, p = 0.005-0.035). Moreover, analysis of covariance revealed there was a statistically significant dose-dependent positive association between LTL and ASM, TB BMC/BMD, TBLH BMC/BMD, and TBLM (p-trend = 0.002-0.025).
CONCLUSIONS: Skeletal muscle mass and bone mass but not body fat content or distribution were significantly associated with LTL in this pediatric population.