Children of moms who smoked while pregnant more likely to be obese at age 14

September 1, 2006

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have overweight or obese children than mothers who do not smoke during pregnancy, according to a new longitudinal analysis.

Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have overweight or obese children than mothers who do not smoke during pregnancy, according to a new longitudinal analysis.

Abdullah Al Mamun, PhD, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues studied 3,253 children born between 1981 and 1984, and found that those born to women who smoked during pregnancy had a body mass index (BMI) about 0.56 kg/m2 higher when they were 14 years old than children whose mothers never smoked.

The children of women who smoked during pregnancy were 31% more likely to be overweight and 42% more likely to be obese at age 14 compared to their counterparts whose mothers did not smoke while pregnant. The BMI of offspring whose moms smoked before and/or after, but not during, pregnancy was similar to that of the children of moms who never smoked.

Mamun AA, Lawlor DA, Alati R, et al. Does maternal smoking during pregnancy have a direct effect on future offspring obesity? Evidence from a prospective birth cohort study. Am J Epidemiol. Advance access originally published online on June 14, 2006. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;164:317-325. (http:// http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/4/317.)