Modifiable early life exposures associated with adiposity and obesity in 3-year old children born to mothers with obesity

Kathryn V. Dalrymple, Angela C. Flynn, Paul T. Seed, Annette L. Briley, Majella O'Keeffe, Keith M. Godfrey, Lucilla Poston, the UPBEAT Consortium

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Abstract

Background: Children born to mothers with obesity are at increased risk of obesity. Influences underlying this predisposition include in-utero exposures, genetic predisposition and a shared family environment. Effective intervention strategies are needed to prevent obesity in these high-risk children; this requires evaluation of modifiable pregnancy and early-life risk factors. Objectives: To assess the individual and cumulative contributions of maternal and early-life modifiable exposures on childhood adiposity and obesity outcomes in 3-year-old children born to women with obesity. Methods: We used adjusted regression to assess the individual and cumulative contributions of six exposures (early pregnancy BMI, excessive gestational weight gain, mode of infant feeding and three measures of childhood eating habits [food responsiveness, slowness in eating and a processed/snacking dietary pattern score]) on body composition in 495 three-year-old children. Outcomes included BMI z-score, arm circumference and overweight/obesity (BMI≥25.0 kg/m2). Results: While the UPBEAT intervention did not influence adiposity outcomes in 3-year-old children, the six modifiable exposures combined incrementally to increase childhood adiposity and obesity. For each additional exposure, children had a higher BMI z-score (β = 0.35SD [95% confidence interval: 0.23, 0.47]), arm circumference (β = 0.59 cm [0.40, 0.79]) and risk of overweight/obesity (relative risk 1.49 [1.26, 1.77]). Compared to no exposures, children with four or more exposures had a higher BMI z-score (1.11SD [0.65, 1.58]), arm circumference (2.15 cm [1.41, 2.89]) and risk of overweight/obesity (3.01 [1.67, 5.41]) (all P < 0.001). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that complex interventions targeting preconception, pregnancy, perinatal and early childhood exposures offer a potential strategy for prevention of pre-school obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12801
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Obesity
Volume16
Issue number11
Early online date17 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • childhood obesity
  • dietary intake
  • early-life determinants
  • in-utero determinants
  • maternal obesity

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