Parental Obesity Associated With Early Childhood Development Delays
A new study in the February 2017 issue of Pediatrics finds that maternal and paternal obesity are associated with specific delays in early childhood development. The study recruited mothers from New York state (excluding New York City) who completed a development screening questionnaire when their children were 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and 36 months of age.
The study, conducted between 2008 and 2010, analyzed the data based on screenings of more than 4,800 children. Compared to normal or underweight mothers, children of obese mothers had increased odds of failing in fine motor functions. Those whose fathers were obese showed an increased risk of failing the personal social functioning measures. Children of two parents classified as obese (with a body mass index equal or exceeding 35) had higher odds of failing in multiple domains, including fine motor skills, personal and social functioning, and problem-solving. The authors emphasize the importance of obtaining family information when screening child development.