Intergenerational associations of dietary inflammatory index with birth outcomes and weight status at age 5 and 9: Results from the Lifeways cross-generation cohort study

Type Article

Journal Article


P. Navarro; N. Shivappa; J. R. Hébert; J. Mehegan; C. M. Murrin; C. C. Kelleher; C. M. Phillips

Year of publication



Pediatr Obes








BACKGROUND: Maternal diet and chronic inflammation may influence early-life offspring health. No comparative data regarding intergenerational associations between dietary inflammation and offspring growth exist. OBJECTIVE: To investigate potential associations between parental and grandparental dietary inflammatory index (DII®) scores with offspring birth outcomes and childhood adiposity. METHODS: This analysis of the Lifeways Study includes 1082 mother-child pairs, 333 index-child's fathers and 707 grandparents. Energy-adjusted DII (E-DII) scores were derived from a validated FFQ for all adults. Birth outcomes were abstracted from hospital records. Childhood BMI was determined at age 5 and 9. Logistic regression and mediation analyses using the PROCESS macro for SPSS were performed. RESULTS: Higher maternal E-DII scores, reflecting a more pro-inflammatory diet, were associated with increased risk of low birthweight (LBW), BW < 2500 g (OR:1.20, 95%CI:1.02-1.47, p = 0.03). Higher maternal grandmothers' (MGM) E-DII scores were associated with increased risk of macrosomia (OR:1.35, 95% CI:1.02-1.79, p = 0.03) and with increased risk of an overweight grandchild at age 9 (OR:1.47, 95% CI:1.26-1.72, p = 0.02). Results from the mediation analyses revealed a significant total effect between MGMs' E-DII scores and grandchild's BW. Higher father's and paternal grandmothers' (PGM) E-DII scores were associated with greater risk of childhood overweight/obesity at 5 years (OR:1.03, 95%CI:1.01-1.19, p = 0.04 and OR:1.07, 95%CI:1.05-1.09, p = 0.01, respectively). The association with the PGMs' E-DII persisted at age 9 (OR:1.13, 95%CI:1.01-1.90, p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Dietary inflammation is associated with adverse offspring birth outcomes and childhood adiposity. A more pro-inflammatory maternal line diet appears to influence early-life growth, whereas paternal line dietary inflammation appears to influence childhood obesity.