Child Obesity

Child Obesity; A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

There is a global obesity crisis, particularly among women and disadvantaged populations. Early-life intervention to prevent childhood obesity is a priority for public health, global health, and clinical practice. Understanding the association between childhood obesity and maternal pre-pregnancy weight status would inform policy.

And practice by allowing one to estimate the potential for offspring health gain through channelling resources into intervention. But this systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine the dose–response association; between maternal body mass index (BMI) and childhood obesity in the offspring.

Categorical outcomes and child obesity

Supplementary searches included hand-searching reference lists; but performing citation searching, and contacting authors. Two researchers carried out independent screening, data extraction, and quality assessment. Observational studies published in English and reporting associations between continuous; and/or categorical maternal and child BMI or z-score were including. Categorical outcomes were child obesity (≥95th percentile, primary outcome); overweight/obesity (≥85th percentile), and overweight (85th to 95th percentile).

But linear and nonlinear dose–response meta-analyses were conduct using random effects models. Studies that could not be included in meta-analyses were summarized. Seventy-nine of 41,301 studies identified met the inclusion criteria (n = 59 cohorts). Meta-analyses of child obesity included 20 studies (n = 88,872); child overweight/obesity, 22 studies (n = 181,800); and overweight, 10 studies (n = 53,238).

Obesity is a leading cause of life-long poor health globally, and is significantly associated with inequalities. Capitalizing on opportunities for early-life prevention of obesity is a priority for public health, global health and clinical practice. But the understanding of association between childhood obesity and maternal pre-pregnancy weight status; but would inform policy and practice by allowing resources to be channel into intervention.

Childhood weight status

In the new study, Heslehurst and her colleagues aimed to estimate the extent to which a mother’s pre-pregnancy body mass index is associated with the weight status of their children. This systematic review included 79 observational studies that investigated maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and childhood weight status.

The results revealed significantly increased odds of child obesity with maternal obesity (OR 3.64, 95% CI 2.68–4.95) and maternal overweight (ORs 1.89, 95% CI 1.62–2.19). Significantly increased odds were observed for child overweight/obesity (OR 2.69, 95% CI 2.10–3.46) and for child overweight (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.25–2.59) with maternal obesity.

This study provides substantial evidence for the need to develop interventions that commence prior to conception, to support women of childbearing age with weight management, in order to combat inter-generational obesity. According to the authors, paying more attention to the preconception period in obesity prevention interventions may help to address the complex early-life inequalities associated with obesity development.