Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Lifestyle of women before pregnancy and the risk of offspring obesity during childhood through early adulthood

TitleLifestyle of women before pregnancy and the risk of offspring obesity during childhood through early adulthood
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDhana, K, Zong, G, Yuan, C, Schernhammer, E, Zhang, C, Wang, X, Hu, FB, Chavarro, JE, Field, AE, Sun, Q
JournalInt J Obes (Lond)
Date PublishedJul
ISBN Number0307-0565
Accession Number29568108

BACKGROUND: In women, adhering to an overall healthy lifestyle is associated with a dramatically reduced risk of cardio-metabolic disorders. Whether such a healthy lifestyle exerts an intergenerational effects on child health deserves examination. METHODS: We included 5701 children (9-14 years old at baseline) of the Growing Up Today Study 2, and their mothers, who are participants in the Nurses' Health Study II. Pre-pregnancy healthy lifestyle was defined as a normal body mass index, no smoking, physical activity >/=150 min/week, and diet in the top 40% of the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010. Obesity during childhood and adolescence was defined using the International Obesity Task Force age- and sex-specific cutoffs. Multivariable log-binominal regression models with generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate the association of pre-pregnancy healthy lifestyle and offspring obesity. RESULTS: We identified 520 (9.1%) offspring who became obese during follow-up. A healthy body weight of mothers and no smoking before pregnancy was significantly associated with a lower risk of obesity among offspring: the relative risks [RRs; 95% confidence intervals (CIs)] were 0.37 (0.31-0.43) and 0.64 (0.49-0.84), respectively. Eating a healthy diet and regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activities were inversely related to offspring obesity risk, but these relations were not statistically significant. Compared to children of mothers who did not meet any low-risk lifestyle factors, offspring of women who adhered to all four healthy lifestyle factors had 75% lower risk of obesity (RR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.14-0.43). CONCLUSION: Adherence to an overall healthy lifestyle before pregnancy is strongly associated with a low risk of offspring obesity in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. These findings highlight the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle before pregnancy as a potential strategy to prevent obesity in future generations.