Maternal intake of fat in pregnancy and offspring metabolic health: A prospective study with 20 years of follow-up

Ekaterina Maslova, Dorte Rytter, Bodil H Bech, Tine B Henriksen, Sjurdur F Olsen, Thorhallur I Halldorsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Maternal fat intake during pregnancy in relation to offspring metabolic outcomes has been studied primarily in animal models, yet little is known about the association in humans. The aim of this study was to examine the association of total and subtype of fat consumption in pregnancy with anthropometric measures and biomarkers of adiposity and glucose metabolism in the offspring.METHODS: A source population was 965 Danish pregnant women recruited in 1988-1989 with offspring follow-up at 20 years. Information on fat intake was collected in the 30(th) week of gestation, and we subdivided fat according to saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fat. Offspring body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were recorded at follow-up (n = 670-678), and biomarkers were quantified in a subset (n = 443) of participants. Multivariable linear and log-binomial regression were used to calculate effect estimates and 95% CI for a 1:1%energy substitution of carbohydrates for fat.RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) BMI was 22.1 (3.3) and 22.8 (2.9) kg/m(2) in female and male offspring, respectively. The median (10th to 90th percentile) of maternal fat intake was 31% of energy [23,39]. We found no overall associations for maternal fat intake with female offspring anthropometry. However, for male offspring higher intake of MUFA during pregnancy was associated with higher insulin levels at 20 years (Q4 vs. Q1: %Δ: 37, 95% CI: 1, 86) accompanied by a non-significant 3.6 (95% CI: -1.1, 8.2) cm increase in WC. High maternal total fat intake (>=35% energy) was also associated with higher BMI (0.9, 95% CI: 0.2, 1.6) and WC (4.0, 95% CI: 1.6, 2.3) among male offspring.CONCLUSIONS: A high fat diet during pregnancy may increase adiposity in adult male offspring. We surmise that maternal MUFA intake during this time included both MUFA and trans fat misclassified as MUFA, and that the associations observed may be more reflective of the latter exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-483
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Denmark
  • Dietary Fats/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated/administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated/administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Overweight/blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult
  • fat
  • Cohort studies
  • Fat
  • Overweight
  • Waist circumference


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal intake of fat in pregnancy and offspring metabolic health: A prospective study with 20 years of follow-up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this