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Mothers' Diet in Pregnancy Tied to Children's Later Weight Gain

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- Certain maternal dietary patterns in pregnancy are associated with differences in child body mass index (BMI) trajectories from birth to adolescence, according to a study published online March 15 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Carmen Monthé-Drèze, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used data from Project Viva (1,459 mother-child dyads) to assess whether dietary patterns in pregnancy (Dietary Inflammatory Index [DII], Alternate Healthy Eating Index for Pregnancy [AHEI-P], and Mediterranean Diet Score) are associated with accelerated growth from birth to adolescence.

The researchers found that children of women in the highest versus lowest DII quartile had higher BMI-z growth rates between 3 and 10 years and higher BMI z-scores from 7 through 10 years in adjusted models. Among children of women with low adherence to a Mediterranean diet, higher BMI z-scores were seen for 3 through 15 years of age. There were no significant associations between AHEI-P and growth rates or BMI z-scores from birth through adolescence.

"Identifying the specific dietary patterns in pregnancy associated with rapid weight gain in children could inform strategies to reduce child obesity," the authors write.

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