Associations of Maternal Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Gestational Weight Gain With Adult Offspring Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: The Jerusalem Perinatal Family Follow-Up Study

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Accumulating evidence demonstrates that both maternal prepregnancy body mass index (mppBMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) are associated with adult offspring adiposity. However, whether these maternal attributes are related to other cardiometabolic risk factors in adulthood has not been comprehensively studied.

Methods and Results—

We used a birth cohort of 1400 young adults born in Jerusalem who had extensive archival data and clinical information at 32 years of age to prospectively examine the associations of mppBMI and GWG with adiposity and related cardiometabolic outcomes. Greater mppBMI, independently of GWG and confounders, was significantly associated with higher offspring BMI, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, insulin, and triglycerides and with lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. For example, the effect sizes were translated to nearly 5 kg/m2 higher mean BMI, 8.4 cm higher waist circumference, 0.13 mmol/L (11.4 mg/dL) higher triglycerides, and 0.10 mmol/L (3.8 mg/dL) lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol among offspring of mothers within the upper mppBMI quartile (mppBMI >26.4 kg/m2) compared with the lower quartile (mppBMI <21.0 kg/m2). GWG, independently of mppBMI, was positively associated with offspring adiposity; differences of 1.6 kg/m2 in BMI and 2.4 cm in waist were observed when offspring of mothers in the upper (GWG >14 kg) and lower (GWG <9 kg) quartiles of GWG were compared. Further adjustment for offspring adiposity attenuated the observed associations to the null.


Maternal size both before and during pregnancy is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in young adult offspring. The associations appear to be driven mainly by offspring adiposity. Future studies that explore mechanisms underlying the intergenerational cycle of obesity are warranted to identify potentially novel targets for cardiometabolic risk-reduction interventions.

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