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Pediatrics. 2014 May;133(5):e1128-38. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3664. Epub 2014 Apr 7.

Parental obesity and risk of autism spectrum disorder.

Author information

1
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom; pal.suren@fhi.no.
2
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York;
3
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York; New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York;
4
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York;
5
National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland;
6
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway;
7
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway;
8
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Nic Waals Institute, Lovisenberg Hospital, Oslo, Norway;
9
MRC Centre for Causal Analysis in Translational Epidemiology, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom; and.
10
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway; Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The objective of the study was to investigate the associations among maternal prepregnancy BMI, paternal BMI, and the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children.

METHODS:

The study sample of 92 909 children was derived from the population-based, prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The age range was 4.0 through 13.1 (mean 7.4) years. Relative risks of ASDs were estimated by odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models.

RESULTS:

At the end of follow-up on December 31, 2012, 419 children in the study sample had been diagnosed with ASDs: 162 with autistic disorder, 103 with Asperger disorder, and 154 with pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Maternal obesity (BMI ≥30) was only weakly associated with ASD risk, whereas paternal obesity was associated with an increased risk of autistic disorder and Asperger disorder. The risk of autistic disorder was 0.27% (25 of 9267) in children of obese fathers and 0.14% (59 of 41 603) in children of fathers with normal weight (BMI <25), generating an adjusted OR of 1.73 (95% CI: 1.07-2.82). For Asperger disorder, analyses were limited to children aged ≥7 years (n = 50 116). The risk was 0.38% (18 of 4761) in children of obese fathers and 0.18% (42 of 22 736) in children of normal-weight fathers, and the adjusted OR was 2.01 (95% CI: 1.13-3.57). No associations were found for pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

CONCLUSIONS:

Paternal obesity is an independent risk factor for ASDs in children. The associations should be investigated further in genetic and epigenetic studies.

KEYWORDS:

Asperger disorder; PDD-NOS; autism spectrum disorder; autistic disorder; child cohort study; parental BMI; parental obesity

Comment in

PMID:
24709932
PMCID:
PMC4006442
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2013-3664
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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