Maternal obesity and attention-related symptoms in the preterm offspring

Jelske W van der Burg, Elizabeth T Jensen, Margot van de Bor, Robert M Joseph, T Michael O'Shea, Karl Kuban, Elizabeth N Allred, Megan Scott, Scott Hunter, Stephen R Hooper, Olaf Dammann, Alan Leviton

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BACKGROUND: Maternal pre-pregnancy obesity, in term-born children, is associated with an increased risk of attention problems, however this relationship has not been explored among children born extremely preterm.

AIM: To estimate the risk of attention problems at age 10years in children born very preterm to overweight (i.e., body mass index (BMI) 25-29kg/m2) and obese (i.e., BMI≥30kg/m2) women relative to the risk among children born to women who were neither overweight nor obese (i.e. BMI<25kg/m2).

STUDY DESIGN: Multi-center prospective cohort study.

METHODS: A total of 764 children born before the 28th week of gestation and whose mother's pre-pregnancy height and pre-pregnancy weight were obtained at birth had an IQ≥70 at age 10years when parents and teachers completed Child Symptom Inventory-4 questionnaires that included items about the presence of ADHD.

RESULTS: Compared to children whose mother's pre-pregnancy weight was in the normal range (BMI<25kg/m2), children were at increased risk of parent-identified ADHD behaviors if their mother was overweight (odds ratio (OR)=1.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 3.3), or obese (OR=2.3; 95% CI: 1.4, 3.9). They were not at increased risk of teacher-identified ADHD characteristics if their mother was overweight before her pregnancy (OR=1.0; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.8), or obese (OR=1.0; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.6).

CONCLUSION: Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of parent-identified ADHD characteristics at 10years of age in children born extremely preterm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
Early online date17 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeU01NS040069
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development5P30HD018655-34


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