Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Cadmium With Child Growth, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Traits

Leda Chatzi*, Despo Ierodiakonou, Katerina Margetaki, Marina Vafeiadi, Georgia Chalkiadaki, Theano Roumeliotaki, Eleni Fthenou, Eirini Pentheroudaki, Rob McConnell, Manolis Kogevinas, Maria Kippler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


Prenatal cadmium exposure has been associated with impaired fetal growth; much less is known about the impact during later childhood on growth and cardiometabolic traits. To elucidate the associations of prenatal cadmium exposure with child growth, adiposity, and cardiometabolic traits in 515 mother-child pairs in the Rhea Mother-Child Study cohort (Heraklion, Greece, 2007-2012), we measured urinary cadmium concentrations during early pregnancy and assessed their associations with repeated weight and height measurements (taken from birth through childhood), waist circumference, skinfold thickness, blood pressure, and serum lipid, leptin, and C-reactive protein levels at age 4 years. Adjusted linear, Poisson, and mixed-effects regression models were used, with interaction terms for child sex and maternal smoking added. Elevated prenatal cadmium levels (third tertile of urinary cadmium concentration (0.571-2.658 g/L) vs. first (0.058-0.314 g/L) and second (0.315-0.570 g/L) tertiles combined) were significantly associated with a slower weight trajectory (per standard deviation score) in all children ( = -0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.32, -0.02) and a slower height trajectory in girls ( = -0.30, 95% CI: -0.52,-0.09; P for interaction = 0.025) and in children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy ( = -0.48, 95% CI: -0.83, -1.13; P for interaction = 0.027). We concluded that prenatal cadmium exposure was associated with delayed growth in early childhood. Further research is needed to understand cadmium-related sex differences and the role of coexposure to maternal smoking during early pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • cadmium
  • child growth
  • obesity
  • prenatal exposure
  • urinary cadmium
  • LIFE
  • MASS

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