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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Examine Association Between Maternal Gestational Weight Gain and Risk of Offspring Obesity

Researchers from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health’s Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Health Promotion, Education and Behavior have completed a study on the association of maternal gestational weight gain with the risk of offspring obesity and body mass index Z scores beyond the mean. The study was led by epidemiology professor Dr.  Jihong Liu and published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

With this study, the researchers examined the relationship between meeting the 2009 Institute of Medicine gestational weight gain guidelines with offspring obesity and body mass index Z score at age six overall by maternal weight status. They used data from the 2005-2007 Infant Feeding Practices Survey II Study and the 2012 Year Six Follow-Up Study.

Dr. Liu and her team found that 11 percent of children were obese, with children who born to mothers who gained excessive weight during pregnancy at an increased risk of obesity compare to those born to mothers who gained adequate weight. They found an even stronger association among normal-weight mothers. Children born to mothers who gained excessive weight also had higher body mass index Z scores, and children born to obese mothers who gained inadequate weight had lower body mass index Z scores at some percentiles of the distribution.

The authors concluded that gestational weight gain was associated with increased risk of offspring obesity and higher body mass index Z scores at age six. Further, inadequate gestational weight gain was protective of high body mass index Z scores among children born to obese mothers.

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