HealthDay News — Supplementation with n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) in pregnancy leads to higher body mass index (BMI) in offspring at age 6 years, but no increase in the proportion of obese children, according to a study published online Sept. 4 in The BMJ.
Rebecca Kofod Vinding, M.D., from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized trial involving 736 pregnant women and their offspring. Participants were randomized to receive n-3 LCPUFA (fish oil) or control (olive oil) from pregnancy week 24 until one week after birth.
The researchers found that the mean BMI z score was increased between age 0 and 6 in the fish oil versus the control group (0.14). Supplementation also correlated with a higher BMI z score (0.19), a higher weight/height (3.48 g/cm), and a larger waist circumference (0.6 cm) at age 6 years; there was no correlation for supplementation with an increased proportion of obese children.
At age 6 years, the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan showed a higher total mass in the supplementation versus control group (395.4 g), which was due to higher lean mass (280.7 g), a higher bone mineral content (10.3 g), and a non-significantly higher fat mass (116.3 g).
“The body composition at age 6 years in children given fish oil supplementation was characterized by a proportional increase in lean, bone, and fat mass suggesting a general growth stimulating effect of n-3 LCPUFA,” the authors write.