The Association of Mediterranean Diet during Pregnancy with Longitudinal Body Mass Index Trajectories and Cardiometabolic Risk in Early Childhood

J Pediatr. 2019 Mar:206:119-127.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Nov 12.


Objective: To evaluate the associations between maternal adherence to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy and their offspring's longitudinal body mass index (BMI) trajectories and cardiometabolic risk in early childhood.

Study design: We included mother-child pairs from the Infancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) longitudinal cohort study in Spain. We measured dietary intake during pregnancy using a validated food frequency questionnaire and calculated the relative Mediterranean diet score (rMED). We estimated offspring's BMI z score trajectories from birth to age 4 years using latent class growth analyses (n = 2195 mother-child pairs). We measured blood pressure, waist circumference, and cardiometabolic biomarkers to construct a cardiometabolic risk score at 4 years (n = 697 mother-child pairs). We used multivariable adjusted linear and multinomial regression models.

Results: A higher maternal rMED in pregnancy was associated with a lower risk in offspring of larger birth size, followed by accelerated BMI gain (reference trajectory group: children with average birth size and subsequent slower BMI gain) (relative risk of high vs low rMED score, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47-0.99). rMED score during pregnancy was not associated with the cardiometabolic risk score, its components, or related biomarkers.

Conclusions: Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet in pregnancy was associated with lower risk of having offspring with an accelerated growth pattern. This dietary pattern was not associated with the offspring's cardiometabolic risk at 4 years.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; cardiometabolic risk; childhood; cohort; growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain
  • Waist Circumference