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Psychol Sci. 2019 Dec;30(12):1780-1789. doi: 10.1177/0956797619885649. Epub 2019 Nov 11.

Lipid Profiles at Birth Predict Teacher-Rated Child Emotional and Social Development 5 Years Later.

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Department Psychology, University of Denver.
Department of Psychology, Stanford University.


The fetal environment has been increasingly implicated in later psychological health, but the role of lipids is unknown. Drawing on the ethnically diverse Born in Bradford (BiB) birth cohort, the current study related levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and triglycerides in umbilical cord blood to 1,369 children's teacher-rated psychosocial competence approximately 5 years later. Results of ordinal logistic regressions indicated that low levels of HDL, high levels of VLDL, and high levels of triglycerides predicted greater likelihood of being rated as less competent in domains of emotion regulation, self-awareness, and interpersonal functioning. Furthermore, these results generalized across ethnic background and children's sex and were not accounted for by variables reflecting mothers' psychological or physical health, children's physical health, or children's special education status. Together, these results identify fetal exposure to anomalous lipid levels as a possible contributor to subsequent psychological health and social functioning.


cholesterol; emotion regulation; fetal development; psychological health; triglycerides


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