Maternal Smoking May Impact Child's Mental Health

Another study finds paternal smoking likely linked to greater childhood body mass index
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal smoking may have an intrauterine effect on child conduct and externalizing problems, and there may be a biologically mediated association between paternal smoking and increased childhood body mass index (BMI), according to two studies published online June 29 in Pediatrics.

In one study, Marie-Jo Brion, Ph.D., of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated the link between maternal prenatal smoking and child psychological problems in two birth cohorts in Pelotas, Brazil, and Britain. The researchers found that unadjusted maternal smoking was linked to increased offspring hyperactivity, conduct/externalizing problems, and peer problems, but not with emotional/internalizing problems in both cohorts. However, after adjusting for paternal smoking and confounders, conduct/externalizing problems was the only association with maternal smoking that persisted in both cohorts.

In another study, Man Ki Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues evaluated 6,710 and 6,519 children of 7,924 nonsmoking mothers with BMI data at approximately 7 and 11 years of age, respectively, from a population-representative, Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort. With adjustment for confounding factors, the researchers found that daily paternal smoking increased mean BMI z scores at 7 (difference, 0.10) and 11 (difference, 0.16) years of age, but not height, compared with no secondhand smoke exposure.

"Together, the results of these studies support the need for action to promote tobacco-control activities that would mitigate tobacco exposure throughout child development, starting in the prenatal period," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Abstract - Brion
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Abstract - Kwok
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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

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