Objective To examine ethnic disparities in maternal prepregnancy obesity and gestational weight gain, and to examine to which extent these differences can be explained by socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics. Methods In a multi-ethnic population-based prospective cohort study among 6444 pregnant women in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, maternal anthropometrics were repeatedly measured throughout pregnancy. Ethnicity, socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics were assessed by physical examinations and questionnaires. Results The prevalence of prepregnancy overweight and obesity was 23.1% among Dutch-origin women. Statistically higher prevalences were observed among Dutch Antillean-origin (40.8%), Moroccan-origin (49.9%), Surinamese-Creole-origin (38.6%) and Turkish-origin (41.1%) women (all p-values <0.05). Only Dutch Antillean-origin, Moroccan-origin, Surinamese-Creole-origin and Turkish-origin women had higher risks of maternal prepregnancy overweight and obesity as compared to Dutch-origin women (p-values <0.05). Socio-demographic and lifestyle related characteristics explained up to 45% of the ethnic differences in body mass index. Compared to Dutch-origin women, total gestational weight gain was lower in all ethnic minority groups, except for Cape Verdean-origin and Surinamese-Creole-origin women (p-values <0.05). Lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics explained up to 33% and 40% of these associations, respectively. The largest ethnic differences in gestational weight gain were observed in late pregnancy. Conclusion We observed moderate ethnic differences in maternal prepregnancy overweight, obesity and gestational weight gain. Socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics partly explained these differences. Whether these differences also lead to ethnic differences in maternal and childhood outcomes should be further studied.

Ethnicity, Gestational weight gain, Maternal body mass index, Maternal obesity, Pregnancy outcomes
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2015.06.031, hdl.handle.net/1765/82749
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/289346 - Long-term effects of early nutrition on later health (EarlyNutrition)
Department of Epidemiology

Bahadoer, S, Gaillard, R, Felix, J.F, Raat, H, Renders, C.M, Hofman, A, … Jaddoe, V.W.V. (2015). Ethnic disparities in maternal obesity and weight gain during pregnancy. The Generation R Study. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 193, 51–60. doi:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2015.06.031