Maternal diet quality in pregnancy and neonatal adiposity: the Healthy Start Study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:

Poor maternal diet in pregnancy can influence fetal growth and development. We tested the hypothesis that poor maternal diet quality during pregnancy would increase neonatal adiposity (percent fat mass (%FM)) at birth by increasing the fat mass (FM) component of neonatal body composition.

METHODS:

Our analysis was conducted using a prebirth observational cohort of 1079 mother-offspring pairs. Pregnancy diet was assessed via repeated Automated Self-Administered 24-h dietary recalls, from which Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) scores were calculated for each mother. HEI-2010 was dichotomized into scores of ≤ 57 and > 57, with low scores representing poorer diet quality. Neonatal %FM was assessed within 72 h after birth with air displacement plethysmography. Using univariate and multivariate linear models, we analyzed the relationship between maternal diet quality and neonatal %FM, FM, and fat-free mass (FFM) while adjusting for prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), physical activity, maternal age, smoking, energy intake, preeclampsia, hypertension, infant sex and gestational age.

RESULTS:

Total HEI-2010 score ranged between 18.2 and 89.5 (mean: 54.2, s.d.: 13.6). An HEI-2010 score of ≤ 57 was significantly associated with higher neonatal %FM (β = 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07-1.1, P < 0.05) and FM (β = 20.74; 95% CI 1.49-40.0; P < 0.05) but no difference in FFM.

CONCLUSIONS:

Poor diet quality during pregnancy increases neonatal adiposity independent of maternal prepregnancy BMI and total caloric intake. This further implicates maternal diet as a potentially important exposure for fetal adiposity.

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