Background/Objectives: Obesity in pregnancy has been associated with increased childhood cardiometabolic risk and reduced life expectancy. The UK UPBEAT multicentre randomised control trial was a lifestyle intervention of diet and physical activity in pregnant women with obesity. We hypothesised that the 3-year-old children of women with obesity would have heightened cardiovascular risk compared to children of normal BMI women, and that the UPBEAT intervention would mitigate this risk.
Subjects/Methods: Children were recruited from one UPBEAT trial centre. Cardiovascular measures included blood pressure, echocardiographic assessment of cardiac function and dimensions, carotid intima-media thickness and heart rate variability (HRV) by electrocardiogram.
Results: Compared to offspring of normal BMI women (n = 51), children of women with obesity from the trial standard care arm (n = 39) had evidence of cardiac remodelling including increased interventricular septum (IVS; mean difference 0.04 cm; 95% CI: 0.018 to 0.067), posterior wall (PW; 0.03 cm; 0.006 to 0.062) and relative wall thicknesses (RWT; 0.03 cm; 0.01 to 0.05) following adjustment. Randomisation of women with obesity to the intervention arm (n = 31) prevented this cardiac remodelling (intervention effect; mean difference IVS −0.03 cm (−0.05 to −0.008); PW −0.03 cm (−0.05 to −0.01); RWT −0.02 cm (−0.04 to −0.005)). Children of women with obesity (standard care arm) compared to women of normal BMI also had elevated minimum heart rate (7 bpm; 1.41 to 13.34) evidence of early diastolic dysfunction (e prime) and increased sympathetic nerve activity index by HRV analysis.
Conclusions: Maternal obesity was associated with left ventricular concentric remodelling in 3-year-old offspring. Absence of remodelling following the maternal intervention infers in utero origins of cardiac remodelling.
Clinical trial registry name and registration number: The UPBEAT trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials, ISRCTN89971375.
- life expectancy
- physical activity