Caffeine consumption during pregnancy can promote weight gain in children and overweight in early childhood, warns a study published Tuesday, April 24 in the journal BMJ Open.
If caffeine consumption during pregnancy is to be limited to prevent fetal growth retardation, can certain doses influence the weight of young children and the risk of overweight in childhood? That was the question asked by a group of researchers who recently published the result of work.
After analyzing the nutrition of 50,943 pregnant women in Norway at 22 weeks of pregnancy, Norwegian and Swedish researchers at the University of Gothenburg looked at the amounts of caffeine ingested in coffee, black tea, energy drinks or chocolate by the pregnant women. They then assessed the weight of the children at eleven different ages between 6 weeks and 8 years.
Regardless of the type of caffeine consumed, the study shows an association with a higher body mass index (BMI) from infancy to childhood. Children exposed to caffeine in utero had an increased risk of overweight by the age 3 years and 5 years, while the association persisted at the age 8 only for very high exposures, the study reports.
3% of pregnant women reported very high consumption of caffeine, more than 300 mg/day. They were more likely to be low educated and obese before becoming pregnant, the study said.
According to the study, children exposed to very high levels of caffeine before birth weighed 67 to 83g more in early childhood (3-12 months), 110 to 136g more before age 3, 213 to 320g more between 3 and 5 years and 480g more at the age of 8 than children who had been exposed to low consumption.
Compared with pregnant women who consumed little caffeine (50 mg / day), those who had average (50 to 199 mg / day,), high (200 to 299 mg / day) and very high (over 300 mg / day) had a 15, 30 and 66% risk of seeing their child become overweight, according to the study.