BackgroundElevated body mass index (BMI) and rapid growth in early childhood are important predictors of obesity risk. The association between maternal preconception BMI and child growth rates is unclear.
ObjectivesTo assess the association between measured maternal preconception BMI and child age- and sex- standardized WHO BMI z-score (zBMI) growth rates and mean zBMI, in children aged 0-10 years old.
MethodsA longitudinal cohort study was conducted with children (n = 499) enrolled in The Applied Research Group for Kids (TARGet Kids!) primary care practice-based research cohort. Maternal BMI was measured during the preconception period, defined as the 2 years prior to pregnancy. Repeated measures of child weight and height were obtained between 0 and 10 years of age. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate the association between maternal BMI and child zBMI growth rates and mean zBMI.
ResultsMaternal preconception BMI was associated with child zBMI growth rate during some growth periods, with the strongest association from age 0 to 4 months; a 5 kg/m2 higher maternal BMI was associated with 0.031 zBMI SD unit/mo higher growth rate (p = 0.004), and 0.186 SD unit higher mean child zBMI (p = 0.0002).
ConclusionsMaternal preconception BMI was associated with growth rate and mean zBMI in early childhood. The preconception period may be an important target for health interventions to promote healthy child growth rate and weight outcomes.