Fewer Refined Grains During Pregnancy May Reduce Obesity Risk In Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 

Dr. Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20817 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Refined grains with a high glycemic index and reduced fiber and nutrient content have been linked to increased adiposity and higher risk of metabolic syndrome among adults. Despite these differences and the growing body of literature on the link between maternal diet/nutrition during pregnancy and subsequent offspring health consequences throughout the lifespan, little is known about the intergenerational impact of refined-grain intake during pregnancy on long-term cardio-metabolic outcomes in the offspring.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Higher maternal refined-grain intake during pregnancy was significantly related to a  higher risk of overweight/obesity at 7 years among children born to pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: For their babies’ cardiometabolic health, pregnant women may want to limit intakes of refined grains during pregnancy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Prospective studies  with longer follow-up of offspring  through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood and  conducted in more race/ethnicity diverse populations are warranted. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Our study adds to the emerging, yet limited data on the possible intergenerational association of die during pregnancy with adverse offspring cardio-metabolic outcomes and suggests that these associations may become more apparent after infancy.  In our other study published one day before this one (Zhu, et al. In J Epidemiol, 2017; https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/drinking-diet-beverages-during-pregnancy-linked-child-obesity-nih-study-suggests), sugar sweetened beverage intakes during  pregnancy  were significantly and positively related to risk of childhood obesity as well.  These findings highlight pregnancy as a potential window of susceptibility associated with offspring growth and obesity risk among this high-risk population.

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Citation: 

Yeyi Zhu, Sjurdur F Olsen, Pauline Mendola, Thorhallur I Halldorsson, Edwina H Yeung, Charlotta Granström, Anne A Bjerregaard, Jing Wu, Shristi Rawal, Jorge E Chavarro, Frank B Hu, and Cuilin Zhang

Maternal dietary intakes of refined grains during pregnancy and growth through the first 7 y of life among children born to women with gestational diabetesAm J Clin Nutr ajcn136291; First published online June 7, 2017. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.13629

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