Dietary trans fatty acid intake and maternal and infant adiposity

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;64(11):1308-15. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.166. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


Background/objectives: The fatty acid composition in maternal diet and in breastmilk during lactation may be a factor in the development of childhood overweight later in life. To investigate the association between trans fatty acid and adiposity, 96 mother-infant pairs (exclusive breastfed; mixed fed; and formula fed) at 3 months postpartum were interviewed; body composition was measured on site using the BOD POD and PEA POD for mothers and infants, respectively.

Subjects/methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Participants were recruited via convenience sampling from Athens-Clarke and surrounding counties of the state of Georgia. Data were analyzed using χ(2), analysis of variance and regression.

Results: There were no significant differences in maternal percent body fat by feeding group (32.70, 33.70, and 35.73%, for exclusive, mixed and formula feeding, respectively). Exclusively breastfed infants had higher percent body fat (24.87%) compared with their mixed-fed counterparts (22.15%) but not formula-fed infants (23.93). Mothers who consumed at least 4.5 g of trans fatty acids/day were 5.8 times more likely to have body fat ≥ 30% than those consuming less (odds ratio=5.81; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05, 32.32), and their infants were over two times more likely (odds ratio=2.13; 95% CI, 0.75, 6.01) to have body fat ≥ 24%.

Conclusions: Trans fatty acid content of the maternal diet may be associated with both maternal and infant body composition in the early postpartum period. More research is warranted regarding maternal dietary and breastmilk fatty acid composition and their effects on maternal and infant body composition and the development of childhood overweight later in life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adiposity / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Regression Analysis
  • Trans Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fats
  • Trans Fatty Acids