Sheryl Rifas-Shiman, MPH
In the August 2017 issue of Pediatrics, several colleagues and I reported that mothers who consumed more sugary beverages – including sugary soda and fruit drinks – in mid-pregnancy had children with higher amounts of body fat in mid-childhood, even when we considered the children’s own intake of sugary beverages. We also examined the effect of drinking water and 100% fruit juice during the same time period, and found no associations between these drinks and children’s later body fat. We hypothesized that the second trimester of pregnancy may be a sensitive period with regards to children’s body fat deposits, and that avoiding high intake of sugary beverages during pregnancy may reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity.
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STUDY: CONSUMPTION OF SUGARY DRINKS IN THE 2ND TRIMESTER LINKED TO KIDS’ WEIGHT IN MID-CHILDHOOD
School-age children whose mothers consumed more sugary beverages in mid-pregnancy had higher amounts of body fat than those whose mothers drank fewer sweetened beverages, according to a study published in the August 2017 Pediatrics. The study, “Beverage Intake During Pregnancy and Childhood Adiposity,” to be published online July 10, looked at 1,078 mother-child pairs in a pre-birth cohort study in Massachusetts. Researchers measured the mothers’ intake of sugary and non-sugary beverages during their first and second trimesters of pregnancy between 1999 and 2002. They found an association between mothers who drank more sugary beverages during their second trimester and their children’s excess weight by mid-childhood, at a median age of 7.7 years. Among 8-year-old boys and girls of average height who consumed at least a half a serving a week of sugary beverages, their weights were approximately 1 kg higher if their mothers had consumed at least two servings a day of sugary beverages while pregnant. Maternal intake of the sugary beverages – rather than the child’s diet – was more strongly related to the child’s susceptibility to gaining excess weight. Avoiding high intake of sugary beverages during pregnancy could be one of several ways to prevent childhood obesity.
This research paper has gained wide-spread media interest and was covered nationwide including but not limited to Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Science News.