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Maternal hyperglycemia in pregnancy is associated with greater adiposity in offspring. The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) describe the glycemic response to carbohydrate ingestion. However, the influence of maternal dietary GI and GL in pregnancy on childhood adiposity is unknown.We examined relations of maternal dietary GI and GL in early and late pregnancy with offspring body composition.A total of 906 mother-child pairs from the prospective cohort the Southampton Women's Survey were included. Children underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry measurements of body composition at birth and 4 and 6 y of age. Log-transformed fat mass and lean mass were standardized with a mean (±SD) of 0 ± 1. Maternal dietary GI and GL were assessed at 11 and 34 wk of gestation by using an administered food-frequency questionnaire.After control for potential confounders, both maternal dietary GI and GL in early pregnancy were positively associated with fat mass at 4 and 6 y of age [fat mass SDs per 10-unit GI increase: β = 0.43 (95% CI: 0.06, 0.80), P = 0.02 at 4 y of age; β = 0.40 (95% CI: 0.10, 0.70), P = 0.01 at 6 y of age; fat mass SDs per 50-unit GL increase: β = 0.43 (95% CI: 0.19, 0.67), P < 0.001 at 4 y of age; β = 0.27 (95% CI: 0.07, 0.47), P = 0.007 at 6 y of age]. In contrast, there were no associations between maternal dietary GI or GL in late pregnancy and offspring fat mass at these ages. Maternal dietary GI and GL were not associated with fat mass at birth or offspring lean mass at any of the ages studied.Higher maternal dietary GI and GL in early pregnancy are associated with greater adiposity in childhood.

Original publication




Journal article


The American journal of clinical nutrition

Publication Date





676 - 683


From the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom (HO, SRC, NCH, KMG, HMI, CC, and SMR); the Department of Social and Preventive Epidemiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (HO); the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton National Health Service Foundation Trust, Southampton, United Kingdom (NCH, KMG, SMR, and CC); and the NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, University of Oxford, Nuffield Orthopedic Centre, Oxford, United Kingdom (CC).


Humans, Dietary Carbohydrates, Nutrition Surveys, Cohort Studies, Follow-Up Studies, Prospective Studies, Child Development, Glycemic Index, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Newborn, England, Female, Male, Adiposity, Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena