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  • Pediatric Original Article
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Prenatal vitamin intake during pregnancy and offspring obesity




In animal studies, exposure to multivitamins may be associated with obesity in the offspring; however, data in humans are sparse. We therefore examined the association between prenatal vitamin intake during pregnancy and offspring obesity.


We investigated the association between prenatal vitamin intake and obesity among 29 160 mother–daughter dyads in the Nurses’ Health Study II. Mothers of participants provided information on prenatal vitamin use during pregnancy with the nurse daughter. Information on body fatness at ages 5 and 10, body mass index (BMI) at age 18, weight in 1989 and 2009, waist circumference, and height was obtained from the daughter. Polytomous logistic regression was used to predict BMI in early adulthood and adulthood, and body fatness in childhood. Linear regression was used to predict waist circumference in adulthood.


In utero exposure to prenatal vitamins was not associated with body fatness, either in childhood or in adulthood. Women whose mothers took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy had a covariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) of being obese in adulthood of 0.99 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92–1.05, P-value=0.68) compared with women whose mothers did not take prenatal vitamins. Women whose mothers took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy had a covariate-adjusted OR of having the largest body shape at age 5 of 1.02 (95% CI 0.90–1.15, P-value=0.78). In additional analyses, in utero exposure to prenatal vitamins was also unrelated to adult abdominal adiposity.


Exposure to prenatal vitamins was not associated with body fatness either in childhood or in adulthood.

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All authors designed the study; MMD performed statistical analysis and holds primary responsibility for the final content and drafted the manuscript; and all of the authors contributed intellectual content to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The Nurses’ Mothers’ Cohort Study was funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Cancer Institute research contract N02-RC-17027, and by PO 263 MQ 411027 from the National Cancer Institute. The Nurses’ Health Study II is supported by Public Health Service grant CA50385 from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Correspondence to K B Michels.

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Dougan, M., Willett, W. & Michels, K. Prenatal vitamin intake during pregnancy and offspring obesity. Int J Obes 39, 69–74 (2015).

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