Prepregnancy Overweight May Not Lead to Behavior Issues

Maternal prepregnancy weight does not appear to be tied to child behavioral or cognitive issues

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Being overweight prior to pregnancy may not increase the offspring's risk of behavioral problems or cognitive issues, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in Pediatrics.

Marie-Jo Brion, Ph.D., of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated parental adiposity and offspring verbal skills, nonverbal skills, and behavioral problems in the British Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort and the Dutch Generation R cohort.

While the investigators found that maternal prepregnancy overweight was associated with reduced child verbal skills before adjusting for confounding factors, after adjustment it was not consistently tied to reduced child verbal skills in either cohort. In the Dutch Generation R cohort, the investigators found that maternal prepregnancy overweight was associated with child total behavior problems and externalizing problems even after adjusting for confounders; however, this was not found in the British Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort. In both cohorts, no associations between maternal overweight and child attention problems, emotional/internalizing problems, or nonverbal skills were found.

"Overall, we found little consistent evidence of intrauterine effects of maternal prepregnancy overweight on child cognition and behavior. Some associations initially observed were not consistently replicated across cohorts or robust to adjustment for confounding factors and, thus, are likely to reflect confounding by socioeconomic or postnatal factors," the authors write.

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