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Patro, Bernadeta; Liber, Anna; Zalewski, Bartlomiej; Poston, Lucilla; Szajewska, Hania and Koletzko, Berthold (2013): Maternal and Paternal Body Mass Index and Offspring Obesity: A Systematic Review. In: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, Vol. 63, No. 1-2: pp. 32-41 [PDF, 359kB]


Background/Aims: It has been hypothesized that the intrauterineenvironment is an independent factor in obesity development. If so, thematernal effect is likely to be a stronger influencing factor (’fetalovernutrition hypothesis’). We aimed to systematically evaluate theassociations of offspring body mass index (BMI, or adiposity) withpre-pregnancy BMI (or adiposity) of the mother and the father. Methods:The Medline, Embase and Cochrane Library databases were searched inMarch 2012. Results: Seven cohort studies were eligible for theanalysis. Among these, 2 groups of trials presented different data fromthe same parent-offspring cohorts (the Avon Longitudinal Study ofParents and Children, ALSPAC, and the Mater-University Study ofPregnancy, MUSP). In total, 3 large birth cohorts and 1 additional smallstudy were identified. Three studies provided a direct comparison ofparent-offspring associations, with a statistically stronger maternalinfluence found only in the MUSP cohort. Equivocal results were obtainedfrom all studies describing the ALSPAC cohort. The parental effect(indirectly estimated based on the presented odds ratio) was similar inthe Finnish cohort. In 1 additional small study, maternal BMI was foundto be a strong predictor of childhood obesity. Conclusions: There isonly limited evidence to support the ‘fetal overnutrition hypothesis’.

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