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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Does pet-keeping modify the association of delivery mode with offspring body size?

Andrea E Cassidy-Bushrow, Ganesa Wegienka, Suzanne Havstad, Albert M Levin, Susan V Lynch, Dennis R Ownby, Andrew G Rundle, Kimberley J Woodcroft, Edward M Zoratti, Christine Cole Johnson
Maternal and Child Health Journal 2015, 19 (6): 1426-33
25427878
Caesarean-section (CS) delivery increases risk of childhood obesity, and is associated with a distinct early-life gut microbiome, which may contribute to obesity. Household pets may alter human gut microbiome composition. We examined if pet-keeping modified the association of CS with obesity at age 2 years in 639 Wayne County Health, Environment, Allergy and Asthma Longitudinal Study birth cohort participants. Pet-keeping was defined as having a dog or cat (indoors ≥1 h/day) at child age 2 years. We used logistic regression to test for an interaction between CS and pet-keeping with obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) at age 2 years, adjusted for maternal obesity. A total of 328 (51.3 %) children were male; 367 (57.4 %) were African American; 228 (35.7 %) were born by CS; and 55 (8.6 %) were obese. After adjusting for maternal obesity, CS-born children had a non-significant (P = 0.25) but elevated 1.4 (95 % CI 0.8, 2.5) higher odds of obesity compared to those born vaginally. There was evidence of effect modification between current pet-keeping and delivery mode with obesity at age 2 years (interaction P = 0.054). Compared to children born vaginally without a pet currently in the home, children born via CS without a pet currently in the home had a statistically significant (P = 0.043) higher odds (odds ratio 2.00; 95 % CI 1.02, 3.93) of being obese at age 2 years. Pets modified the CS-BMI relationship; whether the underlying mechanism is through effects on environmental or gut microbiome requires specific investigation.

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