The fetal origins of disease: a prospective cohort study on the association of preeclampsia and childhood obesity

Catarina R Palma Dos Reis, Fátima Serrano, Maria João Fonseca, Ana Teresa Martins, Ana Campos, Gearoid M McMahon, Henrique Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of mortality worldwide, and childhood excess weight/obesity are strong correlators of accumulated risk in later life. A relationship between maternal preeclampsia and offspring's childhood obesity is recognized, but most studies fail to control for strong confounders. Our goal is to analyze the association between preeclampsia and childhood excess weight/obesity, after accounting for important confounders. We recruited 5133 women with singleton pregnancies during admission for delivery. Sixty-seven pregnancies were complicated by preeclampsia. Maternal and children outcomes were assessed at 10 years of age. We analyzed the association between preeclampsia and childhood excess weight/obesity by fitting a linear regression model (using offspring body mass index (BMI) z-score at 10 years of age) and a logistic regression model (using excess weight/obesity status). We then controlled both models for known confounders, namely maternal prepregnancy BMI, parity, and smoking during pregnancy. At 10 years of age, offspring of preeclamptic mothers had a higher BMI z-score and were more likely classified as overweight/obese, but these differences were not statistically significant. After controlling for maternal prepregnancy BMI, parity, and smoking during pregnancy, there was a high magnitude change in the beta coefficient of preeclampsia in the linear (0.175; -0.014) and the logistic regression models (1.48; 1.23) suggesting that the association between preeclampsia and childhood excess weigh/obesity is significantly confounded by these variables. These confounders also showed a significant association with childhood obesity. This finding suggests that in utero exposure to preeclampsia seems to have less impact in childhood obesity than the previously described confounders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • childhood obesity
  • inflammation
  • maternal obesity
  • Pregnancy

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