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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPACT OF EARLY DIETARY FACTORS ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH Title: Maternal body composition is related to infant body composition, but only in males

item Gilchrist, Janet -
item Andres, Aline -
item Shankar, Kartik -
item Badger, Thomas -

Submitted to: International Journal of Body Composition Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2008
Publication Date: December 15, 2008
Citation: Gilchrist, J.M., Andres, A., Shankar, K., Badger, T.M. 2008. Maternal body composition is related to infant body composition, but only in males [abstract]. International Journal of Body Composition Research. 6(2):Program #OR120.

Technical Abstract: We previously reported that maternal obesity at conception programs obesity of offspring in a rodent model. To begin to translate these findings to humans, we assessed the relationship between maternal obesity and offspring body composition (%Fat) in human infants. %Fat was measured with air displacement plethysmography in exclusively breast-fed infants (n = 90) at 1 and 2 wks, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mo using PeaPod and in mothers (n = 68) at 3- o post-partum using BodPod. Maternal %Fat was categorized using BodPod guidelines as: Very Lean (15–18%), Lean (19–22%), Moderately Lean (23–30%), Excess Fat (31–40%), and Risky (>40%). In full sample, there was a "J"-shaped relationship between maternal and infant %Fat, with offspring of Moderately Lean mothers having the lowest %Fat, offspring of Very Lean/Lean mothers having slightly higher values, and offspring of Excess Fat/Risky mothers having the highest values. Among males, at 3 and 4 mo, infants of mothers with "Risky" body fat had significantly higher %Fat than infants of "Moderately Lean" mothers (27.8% vs. 21.7%, p = 0.01). Similar trends were seen at 5 and 6 mo, but many of the largest infants could not be measured in the PeaPod due to weight limitation of the machine. Among females, there was no relationship between maternal %Fat and infant %Fat at any time point. These results support the findings of our previous study, which was conducted only in male animals. Further research is needed to assess possible mechanisms for the sexual dimorphism and to distinguish the mechanisms of maternal transmission of obesity between conception, gestation, and lactation.

Last Modified: 8/25/2016