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Influence of maternal adiposity, preterm birth and birth weight centiles on early childhood obesity in an Indigenous Australian pregnancy-through-to-early-childhood cohort study

  • K. G. Pringle (a1) (a2) (a3), Y. Q. Lee (a1) (a2) (a3), L. Weatherall (a3), L. Keogh (a3), C. Diehm (a3) (a4), C. T. Roberts (a5), S. Eades (a6), A. Brown (a7), R. Smith (a1) (a8), E. R. Lumbers (a1) (a2), L. J. Brown (a4) (a9), C. E. Collins (a9) (a10) and K. M. Rae (a1) (a3) (a4) (a8) (a11)...
Abstract

Childhood obesity rates are higher among Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australian children. It has been hypothesized that early-life influences beginning with the intrauterine environment predict the development of obesity in the offspring. The aim of this paper was to assess, in 227 mother–child dyads from the Gomeroi gaaynggal cohort, associations between prematurity, Gestation Related-Optimal Weight (GROW) centiles, maternal adiposity (percentage body fat, visceral fat area), maternal non-fasting plasma glucose levels (measured at mean gestational age of 23.1 weeks) and offspring BMI and adiposity (abdominal circumference, subscapular skinfold thickness) in early childhood (mean age 23.4 months). Maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations were positively associated with infant birth weight (P=0.005) and GROW customized birth weight centiles (P=0.008). There was a significant association between maternal percentage body fat (P=0.02) and visceral fat area (P=0.00) with infant body weight in early childhood. Body mass index (BMI) in early childhood was significantly higher in offspring born preterm compared with those born at term (P=0.03). GROW customized birth weight centiles was significantly associated with body weight (P=0.01), BMI (P=0.007) and abdominal circumference (P=0.039) at early childhood. Our findings suggest that being born preterm, large for gestational age or exposed to an obesogenic intrauterine environment and higher maternal non-fasting plasma glucose concentrations are associated with increased obesity risk in early childhood. Future strategies should aim to reduce the prevalence of overweight/obesity in women of child-bearing age and emphasize the importance of optimal glycemia during pregnancy, particularly in Indigenous women.

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Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Kirsty Pringle, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Lot 1 Kookaburra Circuit, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia. E-mail: Kirsty.Pringle@newcastle.edu.au
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