Background: Maternal prenatal smoking is associated with downstream childhood obesity. Although animal research suggests reduced resting energy expenditure (REE), decreased physical activity (PA), and increased energy intake as mechanisms, these relationships are unclear in humans. The objectives were to examine the association of prenatal maternal smoking with non-volitional energy expenditure (REE and the thermic effect of feeding [TEF]), child adiposity, energy intake, free-living PA (daily light PA (LPA), daily moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), daily sedentary behavior (SB)), and screen time (television and computer/video game) in children.
Methods: As part of a longitudinal study, 46 children (n = 27 controls and n = 19 smoking exposed) with mean age 7.6 ± 2 years were recruited. Body weight and composition (Bioelectrical Impedance), height (Stadiometer), waist circumference (cm; tape), BMI (kg/m2), REE (kcal/day; indirect calorimetry), PA (minutes; Accelerometry), screen time (hours; self-report) and ad libitum energy intake (lunch buffet; 7-day food log) were measured. Effects sizes were evaluated using Cohen's d.
Results: Relative to controls, after controlling for age and family income, children who were exposed to cigarette smoke in utero exhibited greater waist circumference (p = 0.04, Cohen's d = 1.03), percent body fat (%BF; p = 0.02, Cohen's d = 0.97), and a trend for BMI (p = 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.86). Exposed children did not differ in REE (trend for lower: p = 0.1, Cohen's d = 0.42) or TEF but were shown to have significantly higher ad libitum energy intake (p = 0.02, Cohen's D = 0.70) from the palatable lunch buffet, but not from the out of laboratory 7-day energy intake (p = 0.8). Examining screen time behaviors, exposed children spent more time watching television during the week (p = 0.03, Cohen's D = 0.82), and overall television watching (p = 0.02, Cohen's D = 0.80); there were no group differences in any other screen time behaviors.
Conclusions: Children exposed to cigarette smoke in utero exhibit greater adiposity, and this exposure may have as contributing factors higher screen time, ad libitum energy intake, and a trend for reduced REE. The data suggest that lifestyle factors such as diet and screen time represent targets for obesity prevention in a high-risk population of young children exposed to prenatal cigarette smoke. Findings also highlight the need for smoking cessation programs to reduce downstream obesity in offspring.
Keywords: Body composition; Energy intake; Physical activity; Prenatal smoking; Resting energy expenditure; Sedentary behavior.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.