Maternal Obesity Tied to Increase in Child Behavior Problems

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Maternal Obesity Tied to Increase in Child Behavior Problems
Maternal Obesity Tied to Increase in Child Behavior Problems

THURSDAY, March 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal obesity is associated with a small increase in child behavior problems, according to a study published online March 21 in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Sarah J. Pugh, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues followed 511 mother-infant dyads through pregnancy to 10 years to examine offspring attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and emotional/behavioral impairments in relation to maternal gestational weight gain (GWG). The Conners' Continuous Performance Test was used to assess child ADHD symptoms; child behavior was evaluated by parent and teacher ratings on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Teacher Report Form, respectively.

The researchers found that increased offspring problem behaviors, including internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, and attention problems on the CBCL, were seen in association with prepregnancy obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m²) compared with normal-weight mothers (BMI of 22 kg/m²). For offspring impulsivity, nonsignificant increases were seen for low GWG among lean mothers (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.5) and high GWG among overweight mothers (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.7; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.9 to 2.8). Additional outcomes did not differ based on GWG z-score.

"In a low-income and high-risk sample, we observed a small increase in child behavior problems among children of obese mothers, which could have an impact on child behavior in the population," the authors write.

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