Association between parental and offspring BMI: results from EPACI Portugal 2012

Margarida Nazareth*, Elisabete Pinto, Milton Severo, Carla Lopes, Carla Rêgo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the longitudinal association between parental BMI and offspring's BMI, in EPACI Portugal 2012. Design: Longitudinal study with retrospective collection of children's anthropometry data since birth. Children's anthropometric data were gathered from individual child health bulletins, and parents' anthropometrics were self-reported. Children's and parents' BMI were classified according to WHO cut-offs. Linear mixed models with random intercept and slope for age were applied to quantify the association between parental BMI and children BMI Z-score (zBMI). Setting: EPACI Portugal 2012. Participants: Representative sample from the Portuguese population (n 2230) aged from 12 to 36 months. Results: 58·9 % of the fathers and 35·6 % of the mothers were overweight (OW) or obese. Prevalence of infants who were, at least, at risk of OW increased from 17·0 % to 30·3 % since birth to 12 months. About half of the mothers with pre-pregnancy OW and obesity (OB) gained gestational weight above the recommendations. The children from mothers with gestational weight gain (GWG) below the recommendations showed a -0·15 SD lower zBMI (95 % CI -0·23, -0·06) in early life, comparing with mothers within GWG recommendations. Children of obese mothers were more likely to present a higher zBMI (0·24 SD, 95 % CI 0·13, 0·35) throughout the first months of life. Conclusions: A high prevalence of OW and OB was observed in Portuguese young adults and toddlers. Mothers' pre-pregnancy BMI and insufficient GWG had a direct effect on offspring BMI. Early effective interventions are needed in order to prevent the transgenerational transmission of OB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2798-2807
Number of pages10
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Body mass index
  • Obesity
  • Offspring
  • Parents


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