Maternal characteristics and offspring’s cardiometabolic profile
In the Netherlands, nearly one in five children has overweight or obesity. Children with overweight have an unhealthier cardiometabolic profile and are at increased risk of adult overweight, diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared to children with normal weight. Maternal characteristics, such as maternal prepregnancy body mass index (pBMI), are important predictors of childhood overweight and cardiometabolic profile. This thesis aimed to identify underlying mechanisms, like early pregnancy lipid profile and offspring’s postnatal growth, in the association between maternal pBMI and childhood cardiometabolic profile. The research described in this thesis was conducted within the multi-ethnic prospective Amsterdam Born Children and their Development study (ABCD-study).
The research presented in this thesis indicates that maternal characteristics – like high maternal pBMI, an atherogenic early pregnancy lipid profile, both a maternal and paternal family history of diabetes – and postnatal growth are all independently associated with an adverse cardiometabolic profile at age 5-6 years. The association between maternal pBMI and offspring’s cardiometabolic profile is not mediated by maternal early pregnancy lipid profile or postnatal growth, but is modified by postnatal growth, with the most detrimental outcomes found in children of overweight mothers with accelerated postnatal growth. The effects of maternal overweight on faster postnatal growth and an adverse cardiometabolic profile in childhood seem stronger among girls than boys.