OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between gestational weight gain (GWG) and total adiposity, body fat distribution, blood pressure (BP), and metabolic profile in offspring. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: Body mass index (BMI), waist, subscapular and tricipital skinfolds, and BP were measured and blood samples drawn in 12 775 children (aged 2–9 years) from the IDEFICS cohort. Overweight/obesity was defined by IOTF criteria. Parents filled in a questionnaire investigating child and familiar medical history and lifestyle. A section was dedicated to pregnancy history (including GWG). RESULTS: Anthropometric indices linearly and significantly increased across GWG tertiles (BMI z-score: tertile I ¼ 0.08, 0.03–0.13; tertile II ¼ 0.16, 0.12–0.21; tertile III ¼ 0.34, 0.28–0.40, Po0.01, mean, 95% CI) by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) adjusted by child sex, age and practice of sport, birth weight, current maternal BMI, parental education, gestational age, age at delivery, alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, maternal diabetes mellitus, gestational hypertension, and breastfeeding duration. After inclusion of BMI z-score among covariates, HbA1c significantly increased across tertiles (P ¼ 0.009) while no differences were observed for BP, serum insulin, HOMA index, blood glucose and lipids. The adjusted risk of overweight/obesity significantly increased by 14 and 22% in tertiles II and III respectively, in comparison with tertile I by logistic regression analysis controlling for covariates. CONCLUSION: Maternal GWG is an independent predictor of total adiposity and body fat distribution in offspring during infancy. Exposure to perinatal factors should be taken into account for early prevention of overweight and obesity.
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