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Research Project: Impact of Maternal Influence and Early Dietary Factors on Child Growth, Development, and Metabolic Health

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Title: Relationships between physical behaviour phenotypes of mothers in pregnancy and their offspring with child body composition

item HOWIE, ERIN - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item NELSON, ALEXANDER - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)
item MCVEIGH, JOANNE - Curtin University
item ANDRES, ALINE - University Arkansas For Medical Sciences (UAMS)

Submitted to: Acta Pediatrica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2023
Publication Date: 1/4/2024
Citation: Howie, E.K., Nelson, A., Mcveigh, J.A., Andres, A. 2024. Relationships between physical behaviour phenotypes of mothers in pregnancy and their offspring with child body composition. Acta Pediatrica. 113(3):486-494.

Interpretive Summary: It is unknown if a mom's physical activity in early pregnancy predicts her child's future physical activity or body composition. The goals of this study were to examine mom's physical activity behaviours during pregnancy and to see if they predict her child's physical activity or body composition at 2 years of age. We studied moms and children from a long-term study (the Glowing study) based in Little Rock, AR. Physical activity and body composition were measured using well-accepted methods. We found 3 groups of physical activity behaviours for moms and children. The physical activity of moms and children was not related, but the children of moms who had more variability in their physical activity also had higher variability in their activity. Mom's physical activity was not related to child body composition, but more active children had less body fat. Results from this study suggest that a child's physical activity might be more important for their body composition than their mom's physical activity during pregnancy and that it might be beneficial to increase physical activity early in children.

Technical Abstract: Aim: The aim of this study was to identify physical behaviour phenotypes in mothers in the first trimester and in their offspring at 24 months of age. The secondary aim was to examine relationships between mother and child behaviours with child body composition at age 24 months. Methods: Longitudinal secondary analysis of the Glowing cohort collected between 1 February 2011 and 22 August 2017 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Behaviours were measured using ankle-worn accelerometers in mothers during the first trimester and offspring at 24 months of age, including total activity, sleep, sedentary time and a novel variable of daily variation, patternicity. Child body fat was measured using quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance. Results: Three phenotypes were identified for mothers and children (n= 159 complete dyads). There were no relationships between mother and child phenotypes, but higher maternal patternicity was associated with higher child patternicity (0.2, 95% CI 0.1, 0.3, p= 0.001). There were no associations between mother or child phenotypes with child body composition, however higher child activity was associated with lower body fat (-0.01, 95% CI: -0.02, -0.001, p= 0.031). Conclusion: Limited associations were found between mothers' pregnancy physical behaviours with child behaviours or child body composition at 24 months of age. Factors such as child diet or current parental physical activity may be better predictors of early childhood outcomes.