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Maternal Diet Quality in Pregnancy and Neonatal Adiposity: The Healthy Start Study


Shapiro, Allison L.; Kaar, Jill Landsbaugh; Crume, Tessa L.; Starling, Anne P.; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; Ringham, Brandy M.; Glueck, Deborah H.; Norris, Jill M.; Barbour, Linda A.; & Friedman, Jacob E., et al. (2016). Maternal Diet Quality in Pregnancy and Neonatal Adiposity: The Healthy Start Study. International Journal of Obesity, 40(7), 1056-1062. PMCID: PMC5356926


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Poor maternal diet in pregnancy can influence fetal growth and development. We tested the hypothesis that poor maternal diet quality during pregnancy would increase neonatal adiposity (percent fat mass (%FM)) at birth by increasing the fat mass (FM) component of neonatal body composition.
METHODS: Our analysis was conducted using a prebirth observational cohort of 1079 mother-offspring pairs. Pregnancy diet was assessed via repeated Automated Self-Administered 24-h dietary recalls, from which Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) scores were calculated for each mother. HEI-2010 was dichotomized into scores of 57 and >57, with low scores representing poorer diet quality. Neonatal %FM was assessed within 72 h after birth with air displacement plethysmography. Using univariate and multivariate linear models, we analyzed the relationship between maternal diet quality and neonatal %FM, FM, and fat-free mass (FFM) while adjusting for prepregnancy body mass index (BMI), physical activity, maternal age, smoking, energy intake, preeclampsia, hypertension, infant sex and gestational age.
RESULTS: Total HEI-2010 score ranged between 18.2 and 89.5 (mean: 54.2, s.d.: 13.6). An HEI-2010 score of 57 was significantly associated with higher neonatal %FM (beta=0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07-1.1, P<0.05) and FM (beta=20.74; 95% CI 1.49-40.0; P<0.05) but no difference in FFM.
CONCLUSIONS: Poor diet quality during pregnancy increases neonatal adiposity independent of maternal prepregnancy BMI and total caloric intake. This further implicates maternal diet as a potentially important exposure for fetal adiposity.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Obesity


Shapiro, Allison L.
Kaar, Jill Landsbaugh
Crume, Tessa L.
Starling, Anne P.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Ringham, Brandy M.
Glueck, Deborah H.
Norris, Jill M.
Barbour, Linda A.
Friedman, Jacob E.
Dabelea, Dana