Vitamin D levels in pregnancy linked to fat mass in babies

June 1, 2012

Children whose mothers had low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are more likely to have higher levels of body fat at 6 years, according to British research.

Children whose mothers had low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are more likely to have higher levels of body fat at 6 years, British researchers have found.

Insufficient levels of vitamin D have been shown to be associated with obesity, but the effects of a mother's vitamin D status during pregnancy were not known. Researchers measured vitamin D levels by radioimmunoassay in 977 pregnant women at 34 weeks and determined their babies' body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at birth and then at 4 and 6 years.

Lower vitamin D status during pregnancy was associated with lower body fat mass in children at birth but greater fat mass at 4 and 6 years. The inverse association between low maternal vitamin D intake and child's fat mass remained significant at 6 years but not at 4 years.

Crozier SR, Harvey NC, Inskip HM. Maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy is associated with adiposity in the offspring: findings from the Southhampton Women's Survey. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012. Epub ahead of print.