Associations between Maternal Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Gestational Weight Gain and Daughter's Age at Menarche

Rebecca B. Lawn*, Debbie A. Lawlor, Abigail Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Earlier puberty and menarche are associated with adverse health outcomes. Reported associations of maternal adiposity with daughter's age at menarche are inconsistent. We examined associations between maternal prepregnancy body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m) 2) and gestational weight gain (GWG) and daughter's ages at menarche (n = 3,935 mother-offspring pairs), pubarche (Tanner stage 2 for pubic hair) (n = 2,942 pairs), and thelarche (Tanner stage 2 for breast development) (n = 2,942 pairs) in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a prospective United Kingdom pregnancy cohort study (baseline 1991-1992). During a follow-up period of up to 17 years (1991-2008), mean menarcheal age was 12.6 (standard deviation, 1.2) years. Both maternal prepregnancy BMI and GWG were inversely associated with daughter's age at menarche after adjustment for maternal age, parity, socioeconomic status, smoking, maternal menarcheal age, and ethnicity (mean differences were - '0.34 months (95% confidence interval: - '0.45, - '0.22) per BMI unit and - '0.17 months (95% confidence interval: - '0.26, - '0.07) per kg, respectively). Associations remained unchanged after adjustment for birth weight and gestational age but were attenuated to the null when results were adjusted for daughter's prepubertal BMI. Similar results were found for ages at pubarche and thelarche. These findings indicate that greater prepregnancy BMI and GWG are associated with earlier puberty in daughters and that these associations are mediated by daughters' prepubertal BMIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-686
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number4
Early online date11 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
  • body mass index
  • gestational weight gain
  • menarche
  • puberty


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