Clinical Edge

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High maternal lead levels linked to children’s obesity

Key clinical point: High maternal lead exposure may increase risk of childhood obesity, but this could be mitigated by maternal folate levels.

Major finding: Children of mothers with 5 mcg/dL or more blood lead levels had 65% increased risk of overweight/obesity. Among children whose mothers were overweight/obese and had high blood lead levels, however, high folate levels appeared protective against obesity.

Study details: The findings are based on a prospective U.S. urban, low-income cohort study from 2002 to 2013 that enrolled 1,442 mother-child pairs.

Disclosures: The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study authors had no industry financial disclosures.


Wang G et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(10):e1912343. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12343; Sanchez-Guerra M et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(10):e1912334. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12334.