Weight gain in pregnancy and child weight status from birth to adulthood in the United States

Pediatr Obes. 2017 Aug;12 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):18-25. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12163. Epub 2016 Jun 28.


Background: High weight gain in pregnancy has been associated with child adiposity, but few studies have assessed the relationship across childhood or in racially/ethnically diverse populations.

Objectives: The objectives of the study are to test if weight gain in pregnancy is associated with high birthweight and overweight/obesity in early, middle and late childhood and whether these associations differ by maternal race/ethnicity.

Methods: Mother-child dyads (n = 7539) were included from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a nationally representative cohort study in the USA (1979-2012). Log-binomial regression models were used to analyse associations between weight gain and the outcomes: high birthweight (>4000 g) and overweight/obesity at ages 2-5, 6-11 and 12-19 years.

Results: Excessive weight gain was positively associated, and inadequate weight gain was negatively associated with high birthweight after confounder adjustment (P < 0.05). Only excessive weight gain was associated with overweight in early, middle and late childhood. These associations were not significant in Hispanics or Blacks although racial/ethnic interaction was only significant ages 12-19 years (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: Helping pregnant women gain weight within national recommendations may aid in preventing overweight and obesity across childhood, particularly for non-Hispanic White mothers.

Keywords: foetal macrosomia; obesity; paediatric obesity; weight gain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mothers
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • United States
  • Weight Gain / physiology*
  • Young Adult