Growth and obesity through the first 7 y of life in association with levels of maternal glycemia during pregnancy: A prospective cohort study

Yeyi Zhu, Sjurdur F Olsen, Pauline Mendola, Edwina H. Yeung, Allan Vaag, Katherine Bowers, Aiyi Liu, Wei Bao, Shanshan Li, Camilla Madsen, Louise G Grunnet, Charlotta Granström, Susanne Hansen, Kelly Martin, Jorge E Chavarro, Frank B Hu, Jens Langhoff-Roos, Peter Damm, Cuilin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Given the long-term adverse sequelae of childhood obesity, identification of early life factors related to fetal growth and childhood obesity is warranted. Investigation on growth and obesity in early life in association with intrauterine exposure to maternal hyperglycemia, a common metabolic pregnancy complication, is of public health significance and clinical implications. Objective: We investigated the association of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) concentrations during pregnancy with offspring growth and risk of overweight/obesity through age 7 y, after adjustment for confounders, including maternal prepregnancy obesity status. Design: FPG concentrations at 28 gestational weeks (IQR: 22-32 wk) were extracted from medical records for 661 pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus in the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996-2002). Offspring's ponderal index was derived from birth weight and length; age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) z scores at 5 mo, 12 mo, and 7 y were calculated based on WHO reference data. Relations between FPG and offspring growth and obesity were assessed by linear and Poisson regression with robust standard errors, adjusting for maternal prepregnancy BMI and sociodemographic and perinatal factors. Results: At birth, maternal FPG during pregnancy was significantly associated with offspring ponderal index (β = 0.46; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.78 per 1-mmol/L increase) and risk of macrosomia (birth weight .4000 g) (RR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.38 per 1-mmol/L increase). At 7 y, higher maternal FPG concentrations were significantly associated with increased BMI z scores (β = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.36) and elevated risk of overweight/obesity (RR = 1.21; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.50). Additional adjustment for birth weight and childhood lifestyle factors did not appreciably alter results. No associations were observed at 5 or 12 mo. Conclusion: Among women with gestational diabetes mellitus, maternal FPG concentrations during pregnancy were significantly and positively associated with offspring birth size and overweight/obesity risk at 7 y, adjusting for maternal prepregnancy BMI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-800
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Childhood obesity
  • Fasting plasma glucose
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Intrauterine exposure
  • Macrosomia
  • Prepregnancy obesity


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