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Former UAB visiting scholar presents research concerning pregnancy weight’s influence on infant metabolism at 2015 ADA Scientific Sessions

July 6, 2015

Dominick J. Lemas, PhD, former visiting scholar with UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), Section on Statistical Genetics, and Office of Energetics—working with José Fernandez, PhD, professor and vice chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, and Hemant Tiwari, PhD, professor in the Department of Biostatistics—and current post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, at the University of Colorado at Denver (CU Denver), presented a talk titled “Associations of maternal weight status prior and during pregnancy with neonatal cardio-metabolic markers at birth: The Healthy Start Study” at the ADA 75th Annual Scientific Sessions, held in Boston on June 5-9, 2015.

Mothers’ pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain are both associated with changes in neonatal cardiometabolic biomarkers largely independent of neonatal adiposity. In a longitudinal, prebirth cohort study conducted by Dr. Lemas—in collaboration with principal investigator Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, of CU Denver—753 ethnically diverse pregnant women 16 years of age and older, along with their newborns (recruited from university hospital obstetric clinics in Colorado from 2009 to 2014) were investigated. Each participant’s pre-pregnancy weight was extracted from medical records or self-reported, with subsequent gains recorded. Cord blood samples and adiposity measurements were taken from their newborns.

Dr. Lemas reported that the major finding is that gestational weight gain was associated with significant increases in cord blood glucose and leptin in newborns even after adjusting for newborn adiposity. Pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with higher cord blood leptin and inversely associated with cord blood HDL cholesterol after adjusting for adiposity.