Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Feb;32(2):201-10. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803760. Epub 2007 Nov 27.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and child overweight: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

  • 1Obesity Prevention Program, Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Perform a systematic review of studies reporting on the association between maternal prenatal cigarette smoking and child overweight.


Meta-analysis of observational studies.


Medline search and review of reference lists among studies published through June 2006.


Included studies reported an association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and risk of overweight among children at least 2 years of age. We did not include in the meta-analysis studies that provided only a continuous measure of adiposity, although those studies are discussed separately.


Based on results of 84 563 children reported in 14 observational studies, children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were at elevated risk for overweight (pooled adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.50, 95% CI: 1.36, 1.65) at ages 3-33 years, compared with children whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy. The pooled estimate from unadjusted odds ratios (OR 1.52, 95% CI: 1.36, 1.69) was similar to the adjusted estimate, suggesting that sociodemographic and behavioral differences between smokers and nonsmokers did not explain the observed association. Although we observed evidence for publication bias, simulating a symmetric set of studies yielded a similar estimate (OR 1.40, 95% CI: 1.26, 1.55).


Prenatal smoking exposure appears to increase rates of overweight in childhood. In parts of the world undergoing the epidemiologic transition, the continuing increase in smoking among young women could contribute to spiraling increases in rates of obesity-related health outcomes in the 21st century.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk