Low maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity

V. Daraki*, T. Roumeliotaki, G. Chalkiadaki, M. Katrinaki, M. Karachaliou, V. Leventakou, M. Vafeiadi, K. Sarri, M. Vassilaki, S. Papavasiliou, M. Kogevinas, L. Chatzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Vitamin D may modulate adipogenesis. However, limited studies have investigated the effect of maternal vitamin D during pregnancy on offspring adiposity or cardiometabolic parameters with inconclusive results. Objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the association of maternal 25(OH)-vitamin D [25(OH)D] status with offspring obesity and cardiometabolic characteristics in 532 mother-child pairs from the prospective pregnancy cohort Rhea in Crete, Greece. Methods: Maternal 25(OH)D concentrations were measured at the first prenatal visit (mean: 14 weeks, SD: 4). Child outcomes included body mass index standard deviation score, waist circumference, skin-fold thickness, blood pressure and serum lipids at ages 4 and 6 years. Body fat percentage was also measured at 6 years. Body mass index growth trajectories from birth to 6 years were estimated by mixed effects models with fractional polynomials of age. Adjusted associations were obtained via multivariable linear regression analyses. Results: About two-thirds of participating mothers had 25(OH)D concentrations <50 nmol L-1. Offspring of women in the low 25(OH)D tertile (<37.7 nmol L-1) had higher body mass index standard deviation score (beta 0.20, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.37), and waist circumference (beta 0.87 95% CI: 0.12, 1.63) at preschool age, compared with the offspring of women with higher 25(OH)D measurements (>= 37.7 nmol L-1), on covariate-adjusted analyses. The observed relationships persisted at age 6 years. We found no association between maternal 25(OH)D concentrations and offspring blood pressure or serum lipids at both time points. Conclusions: Exposure to very low 25(OH)D concentrations in utero may increase childhood adiposity indices. Given that vitamin D is a modifiable risk factor, our findings may have important public health implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Obesity
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Child blood pressure
  • child lipids
  • child obesity
  • pregnancy
  • preschool age
  • vitamin D
  • AGE

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