Maternal obesity and attention-related symptoms in the preterm offspring

Jelske W. van der Burg*, Elizabeth T. Jensen, Margot van de Bor, Robert M. Joseph, T. Michael O'Shea, Karl Kuban, Elizabeth N. Allred, Megan Scott, Scott Hunter, Stephen R. Hooper, Olaf Dammann, Alan Leviton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Maternal pre-pregnancy obesity, in term-born children, is associated with an increased risk of attention problems, however this relationship has not been explored among children born extremely preterm. Aim To estimate the risk of attention problems at age 10 years in children born very preterm to overweight (i.e., body mass index (BMI) 25–29 kg/m2) and obese (i.e., BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) women relative to the risk among children born to women who were neither overweight nor obese (i.e. BMI < 25 kg/m2). Study design Multi-center prospective cohort study. Methods A total of 764 children born before the 28th week of gestation and whose mother's pre-pregnancy height and pre-pregnancy weight were obtained at birth had an IQ ≥ 70 at age 10 years when parents and teachers completed Child Symptom Inventory-4 questionnaires that included items about the presence of ADHD. Results Compared to children whose mother's pre-pregnancy weight was in the normal range (BMI < 25 kg/m2), children were at increased risk of parent-identified ADHD behaviors if their mother was overweight (odds ratio (OR) = 1.9; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 3.3), or obese (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.4, 3.9). They were not at increased risk of teacher-identified ADHD characteristics if their mother was overweight before her pregnancy (OR = 1.0; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.8), or obese (OR = 1.0; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.6). Conclusion Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of parent-identified ADHD characteristics at 10 years of age in children born extremely preterm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal obesity and attention-related symptoms in the preterm offspring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this