High maternal sweetened beverage intake may increase obesity in school-aged children
Women who consume high amounts of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) during the second trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of their children developing obesity at school-going age, according to a recent study.
This prospective prebirth cohort study analysed 1,078 mother-child pairs (mean maternal age 32.1 years, mean maternal SSB intake 0.6 servings per day) from Project Viva*. The mean BMI z-score and fat mass index (FMI) in school-aged children (age 8 years) were 0.38 and 4.4 kg/m2, respectively. Other measurements taken were sum of subscapular (SS) plus triceps (TR) skinfold thickness, ratio of SS:TR, and waist circumference. Almost 58 percent of pregnant women consumed <0.5 servings of SSB per day, and 25.2 percent of children were obese or overweight at age 8 years.
Compared with school-aged children of women who consumed 0 to <0.05 servings of SSB per day during their second trimester, school-aged children whose mothers consumed 2 to <3 servings of SSB per day had higher BMI z-score (0.56 vs 0.32), FMI (4.8 vs 4.3 kg/m2), SS plus TR (22.5 vs 19.0 mm), SS:TR (73.8 vs 69.1), and waist circumference (61.7 vs 59.2 cm). [Pediatrics 2017;140:e20170031]
After adjusting for multiple mother-child covariates, each additional serving per day was associated with higher BMI z-score (0.07), FMI (0.15 kg/m2), SS plus TR (0.85 mm), and waist circumference (0.65 cm).
The effect of high maternal SSB intake (≥2 vs <2 servings per day during the second trimester) on high BMI z-scores was evident in children with low and high SSB intake (adjusted odds ratio [adjOR], 0.22, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], -0.37 to 0.80 and adjOR, 0.29, 95 percent CI, 0.01 to 0.56).
These associations were predominantly driven by maternal intake and potentially due to prenatal programming of susceptibility to obesity, said the researchers.
“These findings suggest that efforts to limit SSB consumption once women become pregnant could help stem the tide of childhood obesity,” said the researchers.
“Given the combination of physiologic, behavioural, and social barriers, weight control after the onset of obesity is particularly challenging, implying that early prevention is paramount,” they added.
*Project Viva: A Longitudinal Study of Health for the Next Generation