Drinking coffee while pregnant could make your child obese

Drinking coffee while pregnant could make your child obese

"High maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy was related to excess growth from infancy and obesity later in childhood", said lead study author Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Filter coffee contains more caffeine (140mg a cup).

The higher the caffeine intake the greater the likelihood the mother was older than 30, had had more than one child, consumed more daily calories and smoked during her pregnancy.

The researchers used data on nearly 51,000 mother and infant pairs from a Norwegian health study between 2002 and 2008 and identified a link between caffeine during pregnancy and excess weight gain in children.

For this study, researchers used the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted between 2002 and 2008.

Sources of caffeine included coffee, black tea, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolate, chocolate milk, sandwich spreads; and desserts, cakes, and candies.

"The results add supporting evidence for the current advice to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy and indicate that complete avoidance might actually be advisable", they added. During pregnancy, it takes the body longer to get rid of caffeine which rapidly passes through tissues including the placenta.

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Queensland-based obstetrician, Dr Gino Pecoraro, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) spokesperson for Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says the findings provides further evidence that limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy has beneficial effects for the developing child.

In addition, women with a very high caffeine intake were more likely to be poorly educated and have been obese before pregnancy, the investigators found. "This is important because the brain has a strong influence over appetite".

Dr Papadopoulou said: "Any caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of excess infant growth and of childhood overweight, mainly at preschool ages".

Researchers examined data on caffeine intake for nearly 51,000 mothers and weight gain for their babies during infancy. And exposure to any level of caffeine was linked with a higher risk of being overweight at the age of five. "These findings concur with the fetal programming of obesity hypothesis".

For the study, Papadopoulou's team asked women who had been pregnant for 22 weeks how much caffeine they consumed. Researchers assessed infant weight gain by calculating the difference in sex-adjusted World Health Organization weight-for-age z scores between birth and age 1 year, using reported weights, and determined childhood overweight, including obesity, at two time points at ages 3 and 5 years and once at age 8 years.

Compared with women who had less than 50 milligrams of caffeine (less than half a cup, or 4 ounces, of coffee) per day during pregnancy, those who had average intake between 50 and 199 milligrams daily (from about half a cup to two 8-ounce cups of coffee) were 15 per cent more likely to have a baby with excessive weight gain by age one year, the study found.

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