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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354958

Research Project: Impact of Early Dietary Factors on Child Development and Health

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Title: Parental adiposity differentially associates with newborn body composition

item DIAZ FUENTES, EVA - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item CLEVES, MARIO - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item DICARLO, MARISHA - Arkansas Department Of Health
item SOBIK, SARAH - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item RUEBEL, MEGHAN - Michigan State University
item THAKALI, KESHARI - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item SIMS, CLARK - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item DAJANI, NAFISA - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item KRUKOWSKI, REBECCA - University Of Tennessee
item BORSHEIM, ELISABET - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item Badger, Thomas
item SHANKAR, KARTIK - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item ANDRES, ALINE - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)

Submitted to: Pediatric Obesity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2019
Publication Date: 12/19/2019
Publication URL:
Citation: Diaz Fuentes, E.C., Cleves, M.A., Dicarlo, M., Sobik, S.R., Ruebel, M.L., Thakali, K.M., Sims, C.R., Dajani, N.K., Krukowski, R.A., Borsheim, E., Badger, T.M., Shankar, K., Andres, A. 2019. Parental adiposity differentially associates with newborn body composition. Pediatric Obesity.

Interpretive Summary: Maternal obesity has been shown to increase obesity risk in the offspring. However, it is unclear which other factors are important in programming offspring obesity. The majority of studies in humans exclude fathers who, recent evidence shows, also play a role in the development of chronic diseases in the offspring. We designed a prospective study of mother-father-infant trios, collecting very detailed characteristics to determine whether maternal and paternal body fat as well as metabolism, physical activity, blood sugar control (insulin sensitivity) or other factors are important in predicting infant fat mass (adiposity) at age 2 weeks. The results demonstrated that maternal adiposity was the strongest predictor of boys and girls newborns' adiposity. Interestingly, grater paternal adiposity associated with lower fat mass in newborn boys but not girls. Maternal race, gestational weight gain, delivery mode, gestational age and infant feeding mode (breastfeeding vs. formula feeding) were also independent predictors of newborn adiposity. To investigate why maternal and paternal adiposity have different effects in boys' and girls’ fat content, we evaluated if a relationship existed between parents’ adiposity and offspring growth hormone levels. Indeed, greater maternal adiposity associated with greater plasma growth hormone levels in girls but not boys. On the other hand, greater paternal adiposity associated with lower levels of growth hormone in boys and girls. Thus, our finding suggests that higher paternal and maternal adiposity may induce programming endocrine systems associated with offspring growth and body composition. The underlying mechanisms and long-term clinical implications of these findings are the subjects of ongoing research in this cohort.

Technical Abstract: Maternal obesity increases offspring's obesity risk. However, studies have not often considered maternal metabolic and exercise patterns as well as paternal adiposity as potential covariates. Our objective was to assess the relationship between parental and newborn adiposity. Participants were mother-child pairs (n=209) and mother-father-offspring triads (n=136). Parental (during gestation) and offspring (2 weeks old) percent fat mass (FM) were obtained using air displacement plethysmography. Maternal race, age, resting energy expenditure (indirect calorimetry), physical activity (accelerometry), gestational weight gain (GWG), gestational age (GA), delivery mode, infant's sex, and infant feeding method were incorporated in multiple linear regression analyses. The association between parental FM and offspring insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) was assessed at age 2 years. Maternal adiposity was positively-associated with male (B=0.11, p=0.015) and female (B=0.13, p=0.008) infant FM; whereas, paternal adiposity was negatively-associated with male newborn adiposity (B=-0.09, p=0.014). Breastfeeding, female sex, GA, and GWG positively associated with newborn adiposity. Vaginal and C-section delivery methods associated with greater adiposity than vaginal induced delivery method. Plasma IGF-1 of 2 year-old boys and girls positively associated with their respective fathers' and mothers' FM. Maternal and paternal adiposity differentially associate with newborn adiposity. The mechanisms of this finding remains to be determined.