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Author Notes:

Correspondence to: O. Yaw Addo, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University 1599 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. E-mail: yaw.addo@emory.edu

Authors included at least 2 individuals from each study site, and who had major roles in the collection of data contributed to the COHORTS collaboration.

Author Contributions: Addo, Martorell and Stein led the writing team and planned the analyses. Addo, Martorell, Osmond, and Stein analyzed the data. Addo, Martorell, and Stein interpreted and wrote the first and last manuscript drafts. Addo, Martorell, and Stein are responsible for the final content of this article.

Supervision: Martorell.

All authors reviewed and provided comments on the manuscript and approved the final version.

Conflicts of Interest: Nothing to report.


Research Funding:

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1020058)

Wellcome Trust (089257/Z/09/Z)

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at National Institutes of Health (HHSN 268200900028C to the Center of Excellence – INCAP/ Guatemala)

Grand Challenges Canada (0072-03 to the Grantee, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania)

Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama Nutrition Trial Cohort (Guatemala) U.S. National Institutes of Health and U.S. National Science Foundation

Pelotas Birth Cohort (Brazil) Wellcome Trust

New Delhi Birth Cohort Study (India) Indian Council of Medical Research, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, Medical Research Council (U.K.), and British Heart Foundation

Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (the Philippines) U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation

Parental childhood growth and offspring birthweight: Pooled analyses from four birth cohorts in low and middle income countries

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Journal Title:

American Journal of Human Biology


Volume 27, Number 1


, Pages 99-105

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objective: Associations between parental and offspring size at birth are well established, but the relative importance of parental growth at different ages as predictors of offspring birthweight is less certain. Here we model parental birthweight and postnatal conditional growth in specific age periods as predictors of offspring birthweight. Methods: We analyzed data from 3,392 adults participating in four prospective birth cohorts and 5,506 of their offspring. Results: There was no significant heterogeneity by study site or offspring sex. 1SD increase in maternal birthweight was associated with offspring birthweight increases of 102 g, 1SD in maternal length growth 0-2 year with 46 g, and 1SD in maternal height growth Mid-childhood (MC)-adulthood with 27 g. Maternal relative weight measures were associated with 24 g offspring birth weight increases (2 year- MC) and 49 g for MC-adulthood period but not with earlier relative weight 0-2 year. For fathers, birthweight, and linear/length growth from 0-2 year were associated with increases of 57 and 56 g in offspring birthweight, respectively but not thereafter. Conclusions: Maternal and paternal birthweight and growth from birth to 2 year each predict offspring birthweight. Maternal growth from MC-adulthood, relative weight from 2-MC and MC-adulthood also predict offspring birthweight. These findings suggest that shared genes and/or adequate nutrition during early life for both parents may confer benefits to the next generation, and highlight the importance of maternal height and weight prior to conception. The stronger matrilineal than patrilineal relationships with offspring birth weight are consistent with the hypothesis that improving the early growth conditions of young females can improve birth outcomes in the next generation. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 27:99-105, 2015.

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© 2014 The Authors American Journal of Human Biology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits distribution, public display, and publicly performance, making multiple copies, distribution of derivative works, provided the original work is properly cited. This license requires copyright and license notices be kept intact, credit be given to copyright holder and/or author.

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