N C Frayer & Y Kim, 2020. Caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of childhood obesity: a systematic review, International Journal of Maternal and Child Health and AIDS, Volume 9 (3).

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ABSTRACT

Objective: 
This paper evaluates the association between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and overweight or obesity in the offspring.

Methods: 
Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a literature search was conducted using MedLine, PubMed, CINAHL-Plus and Google Scholar databases. Inclusion criteria were cohort studies on participants with live singleton births at ≥28 weeks gestation who had consumed caffeine during pregnancy. Included were studies reporting both measurement of maternal caffeine intake and offspring anthropometric measurements. Studies reporting serum paraxanthine, a measurement of caffeine intake, were also included.

Results: 
After final elimination, there were eight studies meeting our inclusion criteria. From these studies, we deduced that caffeine intake during pregnancy between 50 mg and <150 mg/day was associated with increased risk of overweight and obesity by excess fat deposition or increased weight, and elevated BMI per International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria using a reference population. The majority of studies reported the strongest association with maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and overweight and obesity risk beginning at ≥300 mg/day.

Conclusions and global health implication: 
The risk of childhood overweight or obesity was associated with caffeine consumption at 50 mg/day during pregnancy with a stronger association at intakes ≥300 mg/day and higher. The current recommendation of <200 mg/day of caffeine during pregnancy is likely associated with lower risk of overweight or obesity in offspring but avoidance of the substance is recommended.

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