Background/objectives: Animal models have demonstrated that maternal overnutrition during pregnancy influences offspring adiposity. Few human studies of normal pregnancy have replicated these findings. We examined the association between child body mass index at age 5 years and maternal nutrient intake during pregnancy and 5 years postpartum.
Subjects/methods: Five-year-old children (n=585) and their mothers were recruited during pregnancy from two maternity hospitals in Ireland. Data are from the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort study with detailed dietary information obtained during pregnancy and postpartum using a food frequency questionnaire. Nutrient intake was adjusted for energy intake (EI) and expressed in quartiles. Heights and weights were measured when the children were aged 5 years. We performed multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine the independent associations of macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) and their components (saturated fatty acid (SFA)/monounsaturated fatty acid/polyunsaturated fatty acid and sugar/starch) with child overweight/obesity. Associations were examined for nutrient intake during pregnancy (T1), at 5 years postpartum (T2) and the change in nutrient intake between T1 and T2.
Results: Total mean (s.d.) EI was significantly higher during pregnancy (2548 ± 1239 kcal) than 5 years postpartum (2084 ± 718 kcal). Increased odds of overweight/obesity were found in mothers with higher intakes of sugar at T1 (Q4 odds ratio (OR): 4.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01-20.69) and high intakes of SFA at T2 (Q4 OR: 3.35, 95% CI: 0.97-11.57). Mothers with persistently high intakes of SFA and those who reduce their sugar intake between T1 and T2 were more likely to have overweight/obese children.
Conclusion: Maternal prenatal sugar and pre/postnatal SFA was associated with offspring adiposity.