Offspring from families at high risk for alcohol dependence: Increased body mass index in association with prenatal exposure to cigarettes but not alcohol

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Abstract

The prevalence of overweight and obese children is increasing, a tendency that can be expected to increase the risk of adverse outcomes in adulthood. The aim of this study was to determine if prenatal exposure to alcohol, cigarettes, and street drugs would be associated with differences in body mass index (BMI) in childhood and adolescence in offspring from families at high and low genetic risk for developing alcohol dependence. Annual follow-up of offspring (N = 288) provided 1200 height and weight assessments for analysis. Maternal substance use data were available for 235 offspring from families stratified for familial/genetic risk for alcohol dependence (high or low risk), providing the opportunity to assess prenatal exposure and familial/genetic risk in relation to BMI in the offspring. When data were grouped by the presence or absence of any prenatal cigarette exposure, a significant difference in offspring BMI was seen for 8- to 11-year-olds. Significant group differences were also seen at ages 12-15 and 16-18 years. A dose-response relationship between cigarette use by the mother and offspring BMI was also seen. With the strong tendency for individuals who are overweight in childhood and adolescence to become overweight adults, prenatal exposure to nicotine may be a harbinger of increased risk for numerous adult-onset, weight-related health problems. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Hill, S. Y., Shen, S., Wellman, J. L., Rickin, E., & Lowers, L. (2005). Offspring from families at high risk for alcohol dependence: Increased body mass index in association with prenatal exposure to cigarettes but not alcohol. Psychiatry Research, 135(3), 203–216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2005.04.003

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