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Can Proper Maternal Folate Level Reduce Child Obesity Risk?

JAMA Pediatr; ePub 2016 Jun 13; Wang, Hu, et al

Proper maternal folate levels during pregnancy may protect children from future risk of obesity, especially those born to obese mothers, according to a cohort study that included 1,517 mother-child dyads recruited at birth from 1998 to 2012 and followed up prospectively up to 9 years from 2003 to 2014. Mean age was 28.6 years for mothers and 6.2 years for the children. Researchers found:

• An L-shaped association between maternal folate concentrations and child overweight or obesity (OWO) was observed, with the risk for OWO higher among those in the lowest quartile vs those in Q2 through Q4 (OR, 1.45).

• The highest risk for child OWO was found among children of obese mothers with low folate concentrations (OR, 3.05) compared to children of normal-weight mothers.

• Among children of obese mothers, there was a 43% reduction (OR, 0.57) if their mothers had folate concentrations in Q2 through Q4 vs with Q1.

• Similar patterns were observed for child metabolic biomarkers.

Citation: Wang G, Hu FB, Mistry KB, et al. Association between maternal prepregnancy body mass index and plasma folate concentrations with child metabolic health. [Published online ahead of print June 13, 2016]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001457.