Weight gain in pregnancy and child weight status from birth to adulthood in the United States

S. A. Leonard*, Lucia Catherine Petito, D. H. Rehkopf, L. D. Ritchie, B. Abrams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: High weight gain in pregnancy has been associated with child adiposity, but few studies have assessed the relationship across childhood or in racially/ethnically diverse populations. Objectives: The objectives of the study are to test if weight gain in pregnancy is associated with high birthweight and overweight/obesity in early, middle and late childhood and whether these associations differ by maternal race/ethnicity. Methods: Mother-child dyads (n = 7539) were included from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a nationally representative cohort study in the USA (1979–2012). Log-binomial regression models were used to analyse associations between weight gain and the outcomes: high birthweight (>4000 g) and overweight/obesity at ages 2–5, 6–11 and 12–19 years. Results: Excessive weight gain was positively associated, and inadequate weight gain was negatively associated with high birthweight after confounder adjustment (P < 0.05). Only excessive weight gain was associated with overweight in early, middle and late childhood. These associations were not significant in Hispanics or Blacks although racial/ethnic interaction was only significant ages 12–19 years (P = 0.03). Conclusions: Helping pregnant women gain weight within national recommendations may aid in preventing overweight and obesity across childhood, particularly for non-Hispanic White mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Obesity
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • foetal macrosomia
  • obesity
  • paediatric obesity
  • weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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