In utero exposure to even moderate levels of caffeine increases risk of excess childhood weight gain


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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In utero exposure to moderate or high caffeine levels is linked with a higher risk of excess childhood weight gain, according to research published in the BMJ Open.

A total of 50,943 mother and infant pairs from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, recruited between 2002 and 2008, were included in the prospective study. Child’s body size information was recorded at 11 time points from six weeks to eight years.

The data showed that, compared with children of mothers with low caffeine intake (

Odds ratios were 1.15 for average caffeine intake, 1.3 for high intake and 1.66 for very high intake. In utero exposure to any caffeine was associated with higher risk of overweight at three and five years of age. The association persisted at eight years only for very high exposures.

Analysis found that any caffeine intake was associated with increased body mass index (BMI) from infancy to childhood. Children prenatally exposed to caffeine intake >200mg/day had consistently higher weight. Very high caffeine exposures were associated with higher weight gain velocity from infancy to age eight years, the study reports.