HealthDay News — Expectant mothers who consume more sugary beverages during pregnancy tend to have children with higher amounts of body fat, according to a study published online July 10 in Pediatrics.
Researchers asked 1,078 pregnant women to report their food intake. These surveys were completed during each trimester of pregnancy. The surveys were done from 1999 to 2002. Expectant mothers chose from several categories of beverages, including fruit juice, diet soda, sugar-sweetened soda, and water. The women were asked to rate, on average, how often they consumed these beverages. Once the infants were born, the researchers conducted annual follow-up surveys with the mothers and the children for the next 6 years. The researchers also conducted in-person visits when the children were around 6 months, 3 years, and 8 years old.
The team found that higher sugar-sweetened beverage intake during the second trimester of pregnancy was associated with greater adiposity in mid-childhood. The investigators said it appears that the maternal consumption of sugary beverages made the difference in the child’s weight, not the child’s diet. Beverages such as 100% fruit juice or diet drinks in mom’s diet didn’t seem to change a child’s weight gain.
“In this prospective prebirth cohort study, school-aged children of mothers who consumed more sugary beverages in mid-pregnancy had higher levels of adiposity, measured by body mass index, skinfold thicknesses, and dual-energy radiograph absorptiometry,” the authors write.