Associations of maternal diet with infant adiposity at birth, 6 months and 12 months

Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm, Cathrine Hoyo, Truls Østbye, Brian Neelon, Carter Allen, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives To assess associations between maternal prenatal diet quality and infant adiposity. Design The design was a prospective birth cohort. Setting We used data from the Nurture study, a cohort of women and their infants residing in the southeastern USA. Participants and exposure assessment Between 2013 and 2015, we enrolled 860 women between 20 and 36 weeks' gestation. After reconsenting at delivery and excluding women with implausible calorie intakes, we measured dietary intake using the Block food frequency questionnaire, and assessed diet quality using a modified Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010), which assessed intake of 10 food categories, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/legumes, fats, meats, beverages and sodium (excluding alcohol). Outcomes We assessed birth weight for gestational age z-score, small and large for gestational age, low birth weight and macrosomia. Outcomes at 6 and 12 months were weight-for-length z-score, sum of subscapular and triceps skinfold thickness (SS+TR) and subscapular-to-triceps skinfold ratio (SS:TR). Results Among mothers, 70.2% were black and 20.9% were white; less than half (45.2%) reported having a high school diploma or less. Among infants, 8.7% were low birth weight and 8.6% were small for gestational age. Unadjusted estimates showed that a higher AHEI-2010 score, was associated with a higher birth weight for gestational z-score (β=0.01; 95% CI 0.002 to 0.02; p=0.02) and a greater likelihood of macrosomia (OR=1.04; 95% CI 1.004 to 1.09; p=0.03). After adjustment, maternal diet quality was not associated with infant adiposity at birth, 6 or 12 months. Conclusions Although poor maternal diet quality during pregnancy was not associated with infant adiposity in our study, maternal diet during pregnancy may still be an important and modifiable factor of public health importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere030186
JournalBMJ open
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • AHEI-2010
  • birth weight
  • infant adiposity
  • maternal diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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