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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Study Finds Intergenerational Associations between Dietary Inflammatory Index and Birth Outcomes and Weight Status in Childhood

Researchers from epidemiology and biostatistics and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program faculty at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and University College Dublin have completed a study on intergenerational associations of the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) with birth outcomes and weight status and it has been published in Pediatric Obesity.

“Maternal diet and chronic inflammation may influence early-life offspring health,” says Arnold School adjunct assistant professor Dr. Nitin Shivappa, co-author on the paper. “No comparative data regarding intergenerational associations between dietary inflammation and offspring growth exist.”

With this study, the researchers analyzed data from the Lifeways Study, which includes more than a thousand mother-child pairs, 300+ index-child’s fathers and more than 700 grandparents. They calculated energy-adjusted DII scores for all adults and pulled information related to birth outcomes from hospital records. Childhood body mass index was determined at ages five and nine.

The authors found that mothers with a more pro-inflammatory diet were more likely to have low birthweight offspring. Higher inflammation scores among maternal grandmothers were associated with increased risk of macrosomia and an increased risk of an overweight child at age nine. Higher scores for fathers and paternal grandmothers were associated with a greater risk of childhood overweight/obesity at five years old.

“Dietary inflammation is associated with adverse offspring birth outcomes and childhood adiposity,” says Dr. Shivappa. “A more pro-inflammatory maternal line diet appears to influence early-life growth, whereas paternal line dietary inflammation appears to influence childhood obesity.”

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