Offspring born to overweight and obese mothers have a higher risk of cardiovascular events and cardiovascular-related death than those born to normal weight mothers, say UK researchers.
The cohort analysis looked at 28,540 women and their 37,709 offspring. Both birth records and death records were included in this record linkage cohort analysis. All women who delivered a single baby at term (>37 weeks gestation) between 1950 and 1976 were grouped according to their BMI as: underweight (BMI <18.5), normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI 25-29.9) or obese (BMI >30) at their first antenatal visit. Hospital admissions and death for cardiovascular events up to 2012 in offspring aged 24 to 61 years were recorded. Outcomes in offspring of mothers in underweight, overweight or obese categories of BMI were compared with offspring of women with a normal BMI.
Among offspring there were 6,551 deaths from any cause and the leading cause was cardiovascular disease (24% of deaths in men, 13% in women). Offspring who died before the age of 55 and had an overweight mother had a 19% increased risk of increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, compared with those born to mothers at a normal weight. This increased risk was even more marked in those with an obese mother, with a 40% increase in risk seen, compared with those with a normal weight mother. In offspring who died after the age of 55, offspring born to obese mothers had a 77% increased risk of cardiovascular-related death, compared with the normal weight cohort.
What this means for GPs
The researchers note that ‘maternal obesity is a risk factor for all cause premature mortality in adult offspring’ and that their findings ‘highlight the urgent need for strategies to prevent obesity in women of childbearing age and the need to access the offspring of obese mothers for their cardiovascular risk’.