Maternal lifestyle characteristics during pregnancy, and the risk of obesity in the offspring: A study of 5,125 children

Stamatis P. Mourtakos, Konstantinos D. Tambalis, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, George Antonogeorgos, Giannis Arnaoutis, Konstantinos Karteroliotis, Labros S. Sidossis

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54 Scopus citations


Background: To investigate the association between gestational weight gain, maternal age and lifestyle habits (e.g., physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption) during pregnancy, with Body Mass Index of the offspring at the age of 8. Methods: Α random sample of 5,125 children was extracted from a national database and matched with their mothers. With the use of a standardised questionnaire, telephone interviews were carried out for the collection of information like: maternal age at pregnancy, gestational weight gain (GWG), exercise levels, smoking and alcohol consumption. The Body Mass Index (BMI) status of the offspring at the age of 8 was calculated from data retrieved from the national database (e.g., height and weight). Results: The odds for being overweight/obese at the age of 8 for 1kg GWG, for smoking, and for mild exercise during pregnancy compared to sedentary was 1.01 (95%CI: 1.00, 1.02), 1.23 (95%CI: 1.03, 1.47) and 0.77 (95%CI: 0.65, 0.91), respectively. Further analysis revealed that offspring of women who exceeded the Institute of Medicine (IOM) maternal weight gain recommendations were at an increased risk of obesity (OR: 1.45; 95%CI, 1.26, 1.67) compared with offspring of women with GWG within the recommended range. Maternal age and alcohol consumption were not associated with the outcome (p>0.05). Conclusion: GWG, physical activity and smoking status during pregnancy were significantly associated with obesity for the offspring at the age of 8. Health care professionals should strongly advise women to not smoke and to perform moderate exercise during pregnancy to prevent obesity in the offspring in later life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 21 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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