Maternal weight gain during pregnancy and child weight at age 3 years

Christine M Olson, Myla S Strawderman, Barbara A Dennison
Maternal and Child Health Journal 2009, 13 (6): 839-46

OBJECTIVES: To determine the importance of pregnancy weight gain as a predictor of overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] >85th percentile) in offspring at age 3 years and if its influence varies by maternal BMI.

METHODS: Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were conducted on a sample of 208 mother-child pairs from an earlier observational cohort study on postpartum weight retention.

RESULTS: In the final reduced regression model, maternal early pregnancy BMI was positively and significantly associated with overweight in offspring, as were birth weight above the sample median of 3,600 g and maternal smoking during pregnancy (P < or = 0.01). In addition, a significant interaction was found between maternal BMI and gestational weight gain (P = 0.03). The risk of offspring overweight that is associated with 5 excess pounds of net pregnancy weight gain increases with maternal BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Excess pregnancy weight gain is associated with increased risk of child overweight at age 3 years and its impact is greater among high and obese BMI women than it is in normal BMI women. Reducing maternal BMI in the preconception period in overweight women and preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy for all women appear to be appropriate strategies to address the childhood obesity epidemic.

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