European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 169, Issue 11, pp 1361–1368

Maternal prepregnancy body mass index in relation to Hispanic preschooler overweight/obesity

  • Panagiota Kitsantas
  • Lisa R. Pawloski
  • Kathleen F. Gaffney
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00431-010-1230-7

Cite this article as:
Kitsantas, P., Pawloski, L.R. & Gaffney, K.F. Eur J Pediatr (2010) 169: 1361. doi:10.1007/s00431-010-1230-7


The aim of the current study was to examine the role of maternal prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) on overweight/obesity among US Hispanic children ages 2 and 4 years old. We used US nationally representative data from preschoolers enrolled in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort study. The findings revealed that a significantly higher percent (41.6%) of Hispanic mothers were overweight/obese prior to pregnancy compared to white mothers (34.8%). At 2 years of age, 38.3% of the children born to Hispanic mothers were overweight/obese compared to 29.4% of children born to white mothers. By the age of 4, overweight/obesity increased significantly for both racial/ethnic groups with preschoolers whose mothers were Hispanic being more likely to be overweight/obese (44.6%) compared to children whose mothers were white (34.2%). Further, preschoolers born to overweight/obese Hispanic mothers were more than twice as likely [odds ratio = 2.74 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.60, 4.69)] to be overweight/obese than those born to Hispanic mothers of normal prepregnancy BMI. Preschoolers born to overweight/obese white mothers were approximately 1.4 (95% CI 1.05, 1.93) times more likely to be overweight/obese in comparison to those born to mothers with a normal prepregnancy BMI. Maternal prepregnancy weight is potentially a modifiable risk factor for preschooler overweight/obesity. Study findings support the design of early and targeted interventions to reduce this risk to the long-term health of Hispanic maternal and child dyads.


Prepregnancy BMIRacial and ethnic differencesPreschooler obesity and overweightPreconception health

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Panagiota Kitsantas
    • 1
  • Lisa R. Pawloski
    • 2
  • Kathleen F. Gaffney
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health Administration and Policy, College of Health and Human ServicesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human ServicesGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.College of Health and Human Services, School of NursingGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA