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Relationship between maternal consumption of fermented foods and the development of the offspring at the age of 3 years: The Japan Environment and Children's Study.

BACKGROUND: It is well known that maternal diet affects the development of offspring. Herein, the relationship between maternal intake of fermented foods during pregnancy and offspring development was investigated.

METHODS: The diet of 103,060 pregnant women at >4 months of gestation who were enrolled in the Japan Environment and Children's Study was analyzed. Their intake levels of fermented soybeans (miso and natto), yogurt, and cheese were investigated. The developmental status of the offspring at 3 years of age was assessed using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ-3). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the risk of maternal intake levels of the fermented foods associated with subsequent developmental delay in the offspring.

RESULTS: Intake of cheese was associated with a reduced risk of child developmental delay in all intake level groups from the second quartile onward. Intakes of miso and yogurt were associated with a reduced risk of developmental delay in communication skills in the fourth quartile. There was no association between intake of natto and developmental delay.

CONCLUSION: Maternal consumption of fermented foods during pregnancy may reduce the risk of later developmental delay in offspring. It is therefore important to review the mother's diet for fermented foods during pregnancy. However, further studies are warranted to evaluate the factors influencing the association between diet and offspring development.

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