Maternal energy stores and diet composition during pregnancy program adolescent blood pressure

Linda S. Adair*, Christopher W. Kuzawa, Judith Borja

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Background - Fetal undernutrition is hypothesized to program blood pressure (BP) later in life. Human epidemiological studies that use birth weight as a proxy for fetal malnutrition fail to identify specific aspects of maternal nutrition responsible for programming. Methods and Results - We examined how maternal nutrition during pregnancy and infant birth weight relate to systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP) in 2026 Filipino adolescents. Data were collected prospectively during the Cebu (Philippines) Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Women were assessed at ≈30 weeks gestation, and children were followed from birth through adolescence. Regression models were used to examine how the mothers' total energy intake, percentage of energy from protein and fat, triceps skinfold thickness during pregnancy, and infant birth weight relate to adolescent BP, controlling for current age, height, and body mass index and other potential confounders. Maternal triceps skinfold thickness was significantly inversely related to SBP among boys and to DBP in boys and girls. Maternal nutrition variables attenuated but did not eliminate an inverse birth weight-SBP relationship in boys. SBP was significantly inversely related to the mothers' percent of dietary energy from protein in boys. Among girls, SBP and DBP were inversely related to the mothers' percentage of calories from fat. There was no evidence of confounding of these relationships by current diet, maturation status, physical activity, or socioeconomic status. Conclusions - Maternal diet composition and energy stores in the form of subcutaneous fat have long-term effects on offspring BP in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1039
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 28 2001


  • Adolescents
  • Blood pressure
  • Nutrition
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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