Impact of maternal diet quality on childhood wheeze trajectories | Image Credit: © ronstik - © ronstik - stock.adobe.com.
A version of this article initially appeared on HCP Live.
Recent research suggests that the quality of a mother's diet during the periconceptional period may influence the wheezing patterns observed in their children during early life.1
- The study emphasizes that the nutritional quality of a mother's diet during the periconceptional period plays a crucial role in shaping wheezing trajectories in early childhood.
- Researchers identified 4 distinct wheezing patterns in children, with the most common being the 'never/infrequent' trajectory, shedding light on the diversity of respiratory outcomes.
- A higher maternal balanced diet score was associated with a 10% reduced risk of children falling into the 'transient early' and 'persistent' wheeze patterns, showcasing the potential protective effects of a healthy diet.
- The study highlights the need for continued cohort follow-up to understand wheezing trajectories throughout childhood and to explore potential correlations with lung function and asthma risk in later life.
- Despite limited evidence, the research suggests that improving overall diet quality before pregnancy may be a proactive measure in diminishing asthma-like symptoms and their associated healthcare burden in offspring.
The study, led by Hitomi Okubo of the Japan Environment and Children's Study Programme Office at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Ibaraki, Japan, sought to investigate wheeze trajectories in children and explore the connections with the nutritional quality of maternal diets around the time of conception. Unlike previous studies,2 the research emphasized the healthfulness of the diet during pregnancy and its correlation with childhood wheezing patterns, filling a gap in existing knowledge.
The investigation relied on data from the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS), a nationwide birth cohort comprising over 100,000 expectant mothers registered at 15 centers across Japan from January 2011 to March 2014. Participants completed surveys during pregnancy and provided self-administered questionnaires after their children's births.
Analyzing JECS data released in 2019 and 2021, the researchers focused on 76,014 mother-child pairs with a minimum of 3 wheeze assessments between the ages of 1 and 4. After excluding certain data, the final analysis involved 70,530 mother-child pairs.
Wheezing patterns in the children were assessed using a modified questionnaire, and trajectories were determined through group-based modeling. Maternal diet quality in the 12 months before the first trimester was evaluated using a food frequency survey and a balanced diet score based on the Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top.
The researchers employed Bayesian inference of multinomial logistic regression models to examine the association between maternal diet types and early childhood wheezing trajectories. The study protocol received approval from ethics committees, and all subjects provided written informed consent.
Four distinct wheezing patterns were identified, with the 'never/infrequent' trajectory being the most prevalent (69.1%). Other groups included 'early-childhood onset' (6.2%), 'transient early' (16.5%), and 'persistent' (8.2%). After accounting for various variables, the researchers observed that a higher maternal balanced diet score in the highest quartile was associated with a reduced risk of the 'transient early' and 'persistent' wheeze patterns compared to the 'never/infrequent' trajectory.
The reduced risk for these two wheezing patterns was approximately 10%. However, no significant association was found between maternal balanced diet scores and children's membership in the 'early-childhood onset' wheeze trajectory.
The researchers acknowledged that further follow-up of this cohort would provide insights into wheezing trajectories throughout childhood and enable the examination of lung function and asthma risk in later life. Despite the limited and inconsistent evidence, they suggested that improving overall diet quality before pregnancy might help reduce asthma-like symptoms and their related healthcare burden in offspring.
This article was written with the help of ChatGPT.
- Okubo, H, Nakayama, SF, Ohya, Y, Japan Environment and Children’s Study Group. Periconceptional maternal diet quality and offspring wheeze trajectories: Japan Environment and Children's Study. Allergy. 2023; 00: 1-11. doi:10.1111/all.15916.
- Hanson C, Rifas-Shiman SL, Shivappa N, et al. Associations of prenatal dietary inflammatory potential with childhood respiratory outcomes in project viva. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020; 8(3): 945-952. e4.