Maternal pregravid body mass index and child hospital admissions in the first 5 years of life: results from an Australian birth cohort

Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Oct;38(10):1268-74. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2014.148. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


Objectives: To examine the association of maternal pregravid body mass index (BMI) and child offspring, all-cause hospitalisations in the first 5 years of life.

Methods: Prospective birth cohort study. From 2006 to 2011, 2779 pregnant women (2807 children) were enrolled in the Environments for Healthy Living: Griffith birth cohort study in South-East Queensland, Australia. Hospital delivery record and self-report baseline survey of maternal, household and demographic factors during pregnancy were linked to the Queensland Hospital Admitted Patients Data Collection from 1 November 2006 to 30 June 2012, for child admissions. Maternal pregravid BMI was classified as underweight (<18.5 kg m(-)(2)), normal weight (18.5-24.9 kg m(-)(2)), overweight (25.0-29.9 kg m(-)(2)) or obese (⩾30 kg m(-)(2)). Main outcomes were the total number of child hospital admissions and ICD-10-AM diagnostic groupings in the first 5 years of life. Negative binomial regression models were calculated, adjusting for follow-up duration, demographic and health factors. The cohort comprised 8397.9 person years (PYs) follow-up.

Results: Children of mothers who were classified as obese had an increased risk of all-cause hospital admissions in the first 5 years of life than the children of mothers with a normal BMI (adjusted rate ratio (RR) =1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.10-1.98). Conditions of the nervous system, infections, metabolic conditions, perinatal conditions, injuries and respiratory conditions were excessive, in both absolute and relative terms, for children of obese mothers, with RRs ranging from 1.3-4.0 (PYs adjusted). Children of mothers who were underweight were 1.8 times more likely to sustain an injury or poisoning than children of normal-weight mothers (PYs adjusted).

Conclusion: RESULTS suggest that if the intergenerational impact of maternal obesity (and similarly issues related to underweight) could be addressed, a significant reduction in child health care use, costs and public health burden would be likely.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apgar Score
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / epidemiology*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Neural Tube Defects / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / epidemiology*

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12610000931077