Risk for Childhood Obesity Increased With Low Maternal Vitamin D Levels

Pregnant woman taking vitamins
Pregnant woman taking vitamins
Researchers evaluated the association between low maternal vitamin D status in early pregnancy and the likelihood of childhood obesity in the offspring.

Exposure to low maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D [25(OH)D] status in utero is associated with greater offspring body mass index (BMI) and central adiposity at age 4 to 6, according to a study published in Pediatric Obesity.

Vasiliki Daraki, MD, from the department of social medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece, and colleagues evaluated maternal 25(OH)D measurements and offspring outcomes of 532 and 370 mother-child pairs at 4 and 6 years follow-ups, respectively. Maternal 25(OH)D concentrations were measured at 14 weeks; mean concentration was 46.3 (±15.7) nmol L-1. About two-thirds of mothers participating in the study had concentrations <50 nmol L-1.

Children of women in the low 25(OH)D tertile (<37.7 nmol L-1) had higher BMI scores (β 0.20; 95% CI, 0.03-0.37) and waist circumference (β 0.87; 95% CI, 0.12-1.63) at age 4 to 6. A 10 nmol L-1 reduction in maternal 25(OH)D was inversely associated with BMI scores and waist circumference in offspring.

Offspring body fat percentage at age 6 was higher in mothers in the low 25(OH)D tertile (β coef 1.59; 95% CI, 0.13-3.05).

Children exposed to low maternal 25(OH)D concentration levels in utero are at an increased risk for childhood obesity at age 4 to 6. “Given the alarming increase of childhood obesity and subsequent cardiovascular risk, the present results may have important public health implications,” concluded the researchers.

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Daraki V, Roumeliotaki T, Chalkiadaki G, et al. Low maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity [published online January 28, 2018]. Pediatr Obesity. doi:10.1111/ijpo.12267