Comparison of associations of maternal peri-pregnancy and paternal anthropometrics with child anthropometrics from birth through age 7 y assessed in the Danish National Birth Cohort

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Background: Maternal prepregnancy adiposity may influence child
adiposity beyond the transmitted genetic effects, which, if true, may
accelerate the obesity epidemic, but the evidence for this mechanism
is inconsistent.
Objective: The aim was to assess whether the associations of maternal
body mass index (BMI) with child anthropometric measurements from birth
through infancy and at 7 y of age exceed those of paternal associations.
Design: In the Danish National Birth Cohort, information on parental
and child anthropometric measures is available for 30,655 trio
families from maternal interviews during pregnancy and the postpartum
period and from a 7-y follow-up. By using multiple linear
and logistic regression models of child SD (z) scores of weight and
BMI at birth, 5 mo, 12 mo, and 7 y of age, and of child overweight at
age 7 y, we compared associations with maternal prepregnancy and
postpartum BMI z scores and with paternal BMI z scores.
Results: When comparing maternal-child and paternal-child BMI z
score associations, the strongest associations were observed with
mothers’ BMI at birth [maternal and paternal BMI z scores: 0.143
(95% CI: 0.130, 0.155) and 0.017 (95% CI: 0.005, 0.029), respectively]
and throughout infancy, but the relative difference in the associations
declined by child age [for BMI z score at child age 7 y per maternal
and paternal BMI z scores: 0.208 (95% CI: 0.196, 0.220) and 0.154
(95% CI: 0.143, 0.166), respectively]. At 7 y of age, ORs of child
overweight were 2.30 (95% CI: 1.99, 2.67) by maternal overweight
and 1.96 (95% CI: 1.74, 2.21) by paternal overweight. There were no
differences between the results based on maternal BMI before and
after pregnancy or on child’s weight adjusted for length or height.
Conclusions: The associations of child weight and BMI with maternal
BMI were stronger than with paternal BMI. The differences
between the associations were strong at birth but declined with child
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

    Research areas

  • intrauterine environment, intergenerational relations, parental BMI, parental overweight, child anthropometry, childhood overweight, maternal effects

ID: 165744026