Maternal, but not paternal or grandparental, caffeine intake is associated with childhood obesity and adiposity: The Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study

L W Chen et al, 2019.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 109 (6).
May 13, 2019



Maternal caffeine intake is associated with adverse birth outcomes, but its long-term influence on offspring adiposity outcomes is not well studied. Furthermore, few studies have investigated paternal and grandparental caffeine intake in relation to offspring outcomes.


To study the associations between maternal, paternal, and grandparental caffeine intake and offspring childhood adiposity.


The core study sample consists of 558 mother-child pairs from the Lifeways Study. Caffeine intake was derived from relevant food items in a self-administered validated food frequency questionnaire in early pregnancy. Children’s body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were measured at 5- and 9-y follow-up. Childhood overall and central obesity were defined as age- and sex-specific BMI z-score > International Obesity Task Force cut-off and WC z-score > 90th percentile, respectively. Multiple linear and logistic regressions were used to assess associations.


Study mothers had a mean age of 30.8 y and a mean prepregnancy BMI (kg/m2) of 23.7. In adjusted models, maternal caffeine intake was associated with a higher offspring BMI z-score [β (95% CI): 0.13 (0.06, 0.21) for year 5 and 0.17 (0.04, 0.29) for year 9; per 100 mg/d increment in maternal caffeine intake], WC z-score [β (95% CI): 0.09 (0.01, 0.17) for year 5 and 0.19 (0.05, 0.32) for year 9], and a higher risk of offspring overall obesity [OR (95% CI): 1.32 (1.11, 1.57) for year 5 and 1.44 (1.10, 1.88) for year 9] and central obesity [1.28 (1.02, 1.60) for year 5 and 1.62 (1.12, 2.34) for year 9]. The influence was stronger for coffee caffeine than tea caffeine. No consistent associations were observed for paternal and grandparental caffeine intake.


Maternal antenatal, but not paternal or grandparental, caffeine intake is associated with higher offspring adiposity and obesity risk at age 5 and 9 y, with stronger associations observed for coffee caffeine.


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