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Maternal intake of sugar during pregnancy and childhood respiratory and atopic outcomes

Bédard A, Northstone K, Henderson AJ, Shaheen SO (2017) Eur Respir J. 2017 Jul 5;50(1).  pii: 1700073. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00073-2017. Print 2017 Jul. 

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The possible role of maternal consumption of free sugar during pregnancy in the inception of respiratory and atopic diseases has not been studied. We aimed to study the relationship between maternal intake of free sugar during pregnancy and respiratory and atopic outcomes in the offspring in a population-based birth cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

We analysed associations between maternal intake of free sugar in pregnancy (estimated by a food frequency questionnaire), and current doctor-diagnosed asthma, wheezing, hay fever, eczema, atopy, serum total IgE and lung function in children aged 7-9 years (n=8956 with information on maternal diet in pregnancy and at least one outcome of interest).After controlling for potential confounders, maternal intake of free sugar was positively associated with atopy (OR for highest 
versus lowest quintile of sugar intake 1.38, 95% CI 1.06-1.78; per quintile p-trend=0.006) and atopic asthma (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.23-3.29; per quintile p-trend=0.004). These associations were not confounded by intake of sugar in early childhood, which was unrelated to these outcomes.

Our results suggest that a higher maternal intake of free sugar during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of atopy and atopic asthma in the offspring, independently of sugar intake in early childhood.