Background: Psychological distress during pregnancy may influence offspring adiposity. No studies assessed the associations with organ fat measures. We examined the associations of maternal psychological distress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy with child general and organ fat measures. Methods: In 4161 mother–offspring pairs, psychological distress was self-reported in pregnancy. We obtained general fat measures, including BMI and fat mass index by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and organ fat measures (in a subsample of 2447 children), including subcutaneous, visceral, and pericardial fat indices and liver fat fraction by magnetic resonance imaging at 10 years. Linear and logistic regression models were used. Results: Children of mothers with psychological distress had higher fat mass index [difference 0.14 (95% confidence interval {CI} 0.04–0.24) standard deviation scores (SDS)] and higher risk of obesity [odds ratio (OR) 1.73 (95% CI 1.09–2.74)]. Maternal anxiety was associated with higher BMI [difference 0.16 (95% CI 0.05–0.26) SDS], fat mass index [difference 0.19 (95% CI 0.10–0.28) SDS], and higher risks of overweight and obesity [OR 1.36 (95% CI 1.03–1.81), 1.78 (95% CI 1.13–2.81)]. Maternal anxiety was associated with higher subcutaneous and visceral fat indices and liver fat fraction [differences 0.16 (95% CI 0.03–0.29), 0.15 (95% CI 0.01–0.29), and 0.16 (95% CI 0.02–0.29) SDS]. No associations were observed for maternal depression. Conclusions: Psychological distress and anxiety, but not depression, during pregnancy were associated with higher child general and organ fat measures. A healthy mental state during pregnancy may be important for preventing child adiposity.

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Keywords adiposity, child, organ fat, pregnancy, psychological distress
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Journal Childhood Obesity
Vehmeijer, F.O.L, Silva, C.C.V., Derks, I.P.M, El Marroun, H, Oei, E.H.G, Felix, J.F, … Santos, S.M.S. (2019). Associations of Maternal Psychological Distress during Pregnancy with Childhood General and Organ Fat Measures. Childhood Obesity, 15(5), 313–322. doi:10.1089/chi.2018.0300