Original Article

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Pre-pregnancy overweight or obesity and gestational diabetes as predictors of body composition in offspring twenty years later—evidence from two birth cohort studies

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Global prevalence of overweight/obesity and gestational diabetes (GDM) is increasing. In pregnant women both conditions affect offspring’s later health. Overweight/obesity is a risk factor of GDM; to what extent maternal overweight/obesity explains long-term effects of GDM in offspring is unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate effects of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity (BMI 25 kg/m2) and GDM, occurring together or separately, on body composition among adult offspring.

METHODS:

Participants include 891 individuals aged 24.1 years (s.d. 1.4) from two longitudinal cohort studies (ESTER and AYLS). Adult offspring of normoglycemic mothers with overweight/obesity (ONOO, n=153), offspring of mothers with GDM (OGDM; n=191) and controls (n=547) underwent anthropometric measurements and bioimpedance analysis. GDM was diagnosed by oral glucose tolerance test. Data were analyzed by linear regression models adjusted for confounders.

RESULTS:

Compared with controls, ONOO-participants showed higher BMI [men 1.64 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval 0.57, 2.72); women 1.41 kg/m2 (0.20, 2.63)] and fat percentage [men 2.70% (0.99, 4.41); women 2.98% (0.87, 5.09)] with larger waist circumferences [men 3.34 cm (0.68, 5.99); women 3.09 cm (0.35, 5.83)]. Likewise, OGDM-participants showed higher fat percentage [men 1.97% (0.32, 3.61); women 2.32% (0.24, 4.41)]. BMI was non-significantly different between OGDM-participants and controls [men 0.88kg/m2 (−0.17, 1.92); women 0.82 kg/m2 (−0.39, 2.04)]. Also waist circumferences were larger [men 2.63 cm (−0.01, 5.28); women 3.39 cm (0.60, 6.18)], this difference was statistically significant in OGDM-women only. Differences in body composition measures were stronger among offspring of women with both GDM and overweight/obesity. For instance, fat mass was higher among OGDM-participants of overweight mothers [men 4.24 kg (1.36, 7.11) vs controls; women 5.22 kg (1.33, 9.11)] than OGDM participants of normal weight mothers [men 1.50 kg (−2.11, 5.11) higher vs controls; women 1.57 kg (−3.27, 6.42)].

CONCLUSIONS:

Maternal pre-pregnancy overweight and GDM are associated with unhealthy body size and composition in offspring over 20 years later. Effects of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight appear more pronounced.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki and Oulu, Finland

    • N Kaseva
    • , M Vääräsmäki
    • , H-M Matinolli
    • , M Sipola-Leppänen
    • , M Tikanmäki
    • , G Eriksson Johan
    •  & E Kajantie
  2. PEDEGO Research Unit (Research Unit for Pediatrics, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology), Medical Research Center Oulu (MRC Oulu), Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

    • M Vääräsmäki
    • , M Sipola-Leppänen
    •  & E Kajantie
  3. Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

    • H-M Matinolli
    • , M Sipola-Leppänen
    • , M Tikanmäki
    •  & M-R Järvelin
  4. Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

    • K Heinonen
    •  & K Räikkönen
  5. Children's Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

    • A Lano
    • , S Andersson
    •  & E Kajantie
  6. Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, Warwick, UK

    • D Wolke
  7. Imperial College, London, UK

    • M-R Järvelin
  8. Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

    • G Eriksson Johan
  9. Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland

    • G Eriksson Johan

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to N Kaseva.