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Circulation. 2009 Apr 7;119(13):1720-7. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.813436. Epub 2009 Mar 23.

Associations of gestational weight gain with offspring body mass index and blood pressure at 21 years of age: evidence from a birth cohort study.

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  • 1School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston Rd, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia.



Maternal weight gain in pregnancy is positively associated with offspring body mass index (BMI) and obesity risk in childhood, but whether this increased risk extends into adulthood or results in increases in other cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure (BP) is unclear.


We used a population-based birth cohort of 2432 individuals (50% male) born in Brisbane, Australia, between 1981 and 1983 to prospectively examine the association between maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) and offspring BMI and BP at 21 years. On average, each mother gained 14.8 kg (SD, 5.1 kg) during her pregnancy. At 21 years of age, offspring mean BMI, systolic BP, and diastolic BP were 24.2 kg/m(2) (SD, 4.9 kg/m(2)), 116.4 mm Hg (SD, 14.5 mm Hg), and 67.7 mm Hg (SD, 8.5 mm Hg), respectively. Offspring BMI was on average 0.3 kg/m(2) (95% confidence interval, 0.1 to 0.4 kg/m(2)) higher for each 0.1-kg/wk greater GWG after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Systolic BP also was greater (0.2 mm Hg per 0.1 kg; 95% confidence interval, -0.2 to 0.6) in offspring whose mothers had higher GWG. Although this association was not statistically significant, it was consistent in magnitude with the association of maternal GWG with offspring BMI and of offspring BMI with BP.


Our findings show that greater GWG is associated with greater offspring BMI into early adulthood and that this may translate into higher systolic BP in offspring. Further large studies are required to confirm an effect of GWG on a range of offspring cardiovascular risk factors.

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