Food and Behaviour Research

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Neonatal regulatory behavior problems are predicted by maternal early pregnancy overweight and obesity: findings from the prospective PREDO Study

Girchenko P, Lahti M, Lahti J, Pesonen A-K, Hämäläinen E, Villa PM, Kajantie E, Laivuori H, Reynolds RM, Räikkönen K (2018) Pediatr Res.  Oct 

Web URL: Read the abstract here



Maternal overweight/obesity and comorbid hypertensive disorders and gestational diabetes associate with neurodevelopmental delay in the offspring in childhood. We hypothesize that these maternal conditions associate also with the offspring regulatory behavior problems and impact on neurodevelopment via the offspring regulatory behavior.


A number of 3117 women of the PREDO Study filled in a questionnaire on regulatory behavior problems at the child’s mean age of 16.9 days and 2116 of them a questionnaire on developmental milestones at the child’s mean age of 42.2 months. Data on maternal BMI and comorbid disorders come from the Finnish Medical Birth Register.


Offspring of overweight/obese mothers in comparison to normal weight mothers had higher levels of regulatory behavior problems and 22% (95% confidence interval 5–42%) higher odds of having problems on multiple domains of behavioral regulation at the mean age of 16.9 days. Offspring regulatory behavior problems partially mediated the association between maternal overweight/obesity and developmental milestones comprising communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal/social domains of development. Comorbid disorders did not associate with offspring regulatory behavior problems.


Regulatory behavior problems of the offspring have prenatal origins and partially mediate the effects of maternal overweight/obesity on offspring neurodevelopment.


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