Background: Artificial sweeteners are widely replacing caloric sweeteners. Data on long-term impact of artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) consumption during pregnancy on offspring obesity risk are lacking. We prospectively investigated intake of ASBs and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) during pregnancy in relation to offspring growth through age 7 years among high-risk children born to women with gestational diabetes.
Methods: In a prospective study of 918 mother-singleton child dyads from the Danish National Birth Cohort, maternal dietary intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire during pregnancy. Offspring body mass index z-scores (BMIZ) and overweight/obesity status were derived using weight and length/height at birth, 5 and 12 months and 7 years. Linear regression and Poisson regression with robust standard errors were used, adjusting for major risk factors.
Results: Approximately half of women reported consuming ASBs during pregnancy and 9% consumed daily. Compared to never consumption, daily ASB intake during pregnancy was positively associated with offspring large-for-gestational age [adjusted relative risk (aRR) 1.57; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.35 at birth], BMIZ (adjusted β 0.59; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.96) and overweight/obesity (aRR 1.93; 95% CI; 1.24, 3.01) at 7 years. Per-serving-per-day substitution of ASBs with water during pregnancy was related to a lower overweight/obesity risk at 7 years (aRR 0.83; 95% CI: 0.76, 0.91), whereas SSB substitution with ASBs was not related to a lower risk (aRR 1.14; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.31).
Conclusions: Our findings illustrated positive associations between intrauterine exposure to ASBs and birth size and risk of overweight/obesity at 7 years. Data with longer follow-up are warranted.
Keywords: Artificially sweetened beverages; obesity; pregnancy; sugar-sweetened beverages.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association 2017. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the United States.