Pre-pregnancy maternal BMI classification is associated with preschool childhood diet quality and childhood obesity in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

Paul Hudson, Pauline M Emmett, Caroline M Taylor*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Objective To explore the effect of maternal BMI class pre-pregnancy (overweight/obese versus healthy weight/underweight) on childhood diet quality and on childhood overweight/obesity risk. Design Dietary data were collected using 3-day parental-completed food records for their children at ages 18 and 43 months. An index of diet quality was derived by classification of food items into core and non-core foods. Adjusted multiple linear regression analyses were used to explore the effect of maternal BMI class on diet quality in their children. Setting Avon, UK. Participants A 10% subsample of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. 908 children provided complete dietary data at 18 months and 769 at 43 months. Results Children with overweight/obese mothers consumed greater amounts of energy from non-core foods than children with healthy weight/underweight mothers (0.20 MJ [48 kcal]/day more at 18 months (p<0.001); 0.19 MJ [45 kcal]/day more at 43 months (p=0.008)) in adjusted models. Diet quality deteriorated between 18 and 43 months (children reduced their dietary energy intake from core foods (p<0.001) and increased intake from non-core foods (p<0.001)). However, this change was not associated with maternal BMI class in adjusted models. Having an overweight/obese mother was associated with an increased odds of the child being overweight/obese at 43 months (OR 1.74 (1.17, 2.58)). Conclusion Children aged 18 and 43 months with overweight/obese mothers are likely to have a poorer quality diet than those with healthy-/underweight mothers. Parents should be supported in discouraging the consumption of non-core foods in children at these ages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Mar 2021

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