Does Maternal BMI Affect Offspring’s Obesity Risk? Interview with:

Dr Rebecca Richmond PhD

Dr Rebecca Richmond

Dr Rebecca Richmond PhD
Senior Research Associate in the CRUK Integrative Cancer Epidemiology Programme
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have been involved in earlier work which applied the same methods used here (using genetic variants to provide causal evidence) and showed that higher maternal pregnancy body mass index (BMI) causes greater infant birth weight. The paper here aimed to build on that earlier research and asked whether maternal BMI in pregnancy has a lasting effect, so that offspring of women who were more overweight in pregnancy are themselves likely to be fatter in childhood and adolescence. Our aim was to address this because an effect of an exposure in pregnancy on later life outcomes in the offspring could have detrimental health consequences for themselves and future generations. However, we did not find strong evidence for this in the context of the impact of maternal BMI in pregnancy on offspring fatness. What should readers take away from this report?

Response: We think that a key practical implication – if our findings are confirmed in additional studies – is that targeting interventions at pregnant women or women of childbearing age that are aimed at reducing their weight as they go into pregnancy are unlikely to affect their children’s own risk of being overweight later in their lives. It is likely that weight loss interventions are needed for all members of the population and at all ages. However, it is important to emphasise that pregnant women are likely to benefit from having a healthy BMI as this will prevent pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We would recommend that our findings were confirmed in additional studies with larger sample sizes and that the impact of other maternal exposures (such as gestational diabetes) on the risk of later offspring fatness were investigated using the same methods applied here.

We have no disclosures to report.


Using Genetic Variation to Explore the Causal Effect of Maternal Pregnancy Adiposity on Future Offspring Adiposity: A Mendelian Randomisation Study

Rebecca C. Richmond ,Nicholas J. Timpson,Janine F. Felix,Tom Palmer,Romy Gaillard,George McMahon,George Davey Smith,Vincent W. Jaddoe,Debbie A. Lawlor

 PLOS Published: January 24, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on January 27, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD