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    Relationship between maternal body mass index and child cognition: evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

    Basatemur, E. and Gardiner, Julian and Williams, C. and Melhuish, Edward C. and Barnes, Jacqueline and Sutcliffe, A. (2013) Relationship between maternal body mass index and child cognition: evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Paediatrics 131 (1), pp. 56-63. ISSN 0031-4005.

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    Objective: To examine the association between maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and cognitive performance in children at 5 and 7 years of age. Patients and Methods: Secondary analysis of data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a prospective population based cohort study of 19,517 children in the United Kingdom. Standardised cognitive assessments of children, involving components of the British Ability Scales (BAS-II) and a number skills test, were performed at 5 and 7 years of age. Principal components analysis was used to identify a general cognitive ability factor (g) from individual test scores. Mixed-effects linear regression models were fitted, controlling for multiple socio-demographic factors, child’s birth weight, child’s BMI, maternal smoking, and maternal diabetes. Complete data was available for 11,025 children at 5 years, and 9,882 children at 7 years. Results: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was negatively associated with children’s cognitive performance (g) at age 7 (p < 0.0001). The overall effect size was modest: a 10-point increase in maternal BMI was associated with a decrease in children’s cognitive performance of 1/10th of a standard deviation. At age 5 there was trend towards reduced cognitive performance with increasing maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, although this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.055). Conclusions: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is negatively associated with children’s cognitive performance, even after adjusting for multiple socio-demographic confounders and children’s BMI. The relationship appears to become stronger as children get older, although the overall effect size is modest.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Children, Families and Social Issues, Institute for the Study of (Closed)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 14:30
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:00


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