Maternal weight, smoking, and diabetes provided early predictors of longitudinal body mass index growth patterns in childhood

Tiina Ylöstalo, Marja Terttu Saha, Tapio Nummi, Ulla Harjunmaa, Matti K. Salo, Nina Vuorela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to identify factors affecting overweight growth development using extended body mass index (BMI) data combined with birth and maternal records from Finnish national registries. Methods: The longitudinal data consist of growth measurements of 7372 from six birth cohorts in Finland: 1974 (n = 1109), 1981 (n = 983), 1991 (n = 607), 1994–1995 (n = 829), 2001 (n = 821), and 2003–2004 (n = 3023). Anthropometric data were collected from birth to age 15 years from the health records. Pregnancy health data were included for the four most recent birth cohorts (n = 2810). A statistical method called trajectory analysis was used to identify different BMI development trajectories. Factors associated with abnormal growth tracks were analysed using logistic regression models. Results: High pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational diabetes mellitus, maternal smoking, and greater gestational weight gain than the Institute of Medicine (United States) recommendations were associated with the overweight growth track. Two of the trajectories didn't seem to follow the normal growth pattern: overweight growth track appeared to lead to overweight, while low birth BMI track showed accelerating growth after the adiposity rebound point of BMI growth. Conclusion: These findings suggest that maternal overweight before pregnancy, excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes mellitus, and smoking could potentially be associated with the risk of obesity in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1086
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number5
Early online date2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • childhood obesity
  • development of body mass index
  • gestational diabetes mellitus
  • gestational weight gain
  • trajectory analysis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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