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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Weight gain in pregnancy and child weight status from birth to adulthood in the United States

  • Author(s): Leonard, Stephanie
  • et al.
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Background: High weight gain in pregnancy has been associated with child adiposity, but few studies have assessed the relationship across childhood or in racially/ethnically diverse populations.

Objectives: To test if weight gain in pregnancy is associated with high birthweight and overweight/obesity in early, middle, and late childhood, and whether these associations differ by maternal race/ethnicity.

Methods: 7539 mother-child dyads were included from NLSY79: a nationally representative cohort study in the U.S. (1979-2012). Log-binomial regression models were used to analyze associations between GWG and the outcomes: high birthweight (> 4000 g) and overweight/obesity at ages 2-5 years, 6-11 years, and 12-19 years.

Results: Excessive weight gain was positively associated and inadequate weight gain was negatively associated with high birthweight after confounder adjustment (P < 0.05). Only excessive weight gain was associated with overweight in early, middle, and late childhood. These associations were not significant in Hispanics or blacks, although racial/ethnic interaction was only significant ages 12-19 years (P = 0.03).

Conclusions: Helping pregnant women gain weight within national recommendations may aid in preventing overweight and obesity across childhood, particularly for non-Hispanic white mothers.

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