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Relationships of maternal body mass index and plasma biomarkers with childhood body mass index and adiposity at 6 years: The Children of SCOPE study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

on behalf of SCOPE consortium

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12537
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number10
Early online date24 Jun 2019
Accepted/In press2 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print24 Jun 2019
Published1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 World Obesity Federation.


King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Maternal obesity has been implicated in the origins of childhood obesity through a suboptimal environment in-utero.

OBJECTIVE: We examined relationships of maternal early pregnancy body mass index (BMI), overweight/obesity, and plasma biomarkers of obesity, inflammation, insulin resistance, and placental function with measures of childhood BMI and adiposity.

METHODS: BMI z-score, sum of skinfold thicknesses (SST), body fat percentage (BFP, by bioelectrical impedance), and waist, arm, and hip circumferences were measured in 1173 6-year-old children of nulliparous pregnant women in the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, New Zealand. Relationships of maternal early pregnancy (15 weeks' gestation) BMI and biomarkers with these childhood anthropometric measures were assessed by linear regression, with appropriate adjustment.

RESULTS: 28.1% of mothers were classified as overweight and 10.1% with obesity; compared with normal weight mothers, the BFP of their children were 5.3% higher (0.16 SD [95% CI, 0.04-0.29] p = .01) and 7.8% higher (0.27 [0.08-0.47] p = .006) with comparable values for BMI z-score and arm, waist, and hip circumferences. Early pregnancy maternal BMI and plasma placental growth factor (PlGF) were associated with higher child's SST, BMI z-score, hip circumference, and BFP. None of the metabolic or inflammatory maternal biomarkers were associated with childhood obesity.

CONCLUSION: In this contemporary large prospective cohort study with extensive maternal/childhood phenotyping and a high prevalence of maternal overweight/obesity, we found independent relationships of maternal early pregnancy BMI with childhood BMI and adiposity; similar associations were observed with PlGF, which may imply a role for placenta function in the developmental programming of childhood obesity risk.

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