Maternal milk consumption and offspring’s growth

Thursday, Feb 01, 2018


Hrolfsdottir L, Rytter D, Hammer Bech B, Brink Henriksen T, Danielsen I, Steingrimsdottir L, Olsen SF, Halldorsson TI. Maternal milk consumption, birth size and adult height of offspring: a prospective cohort study with 20 years of follow-up. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Sep 4. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.151. [Epub ahead of print]. Link to PubMed

  • Background:
    Previous studies have suggested the effect of milk consumption during pregnancy on offspring’s growth in utero, while the effect tracks into later life remains unclear.
  • Method:
    • A prospective cohort study of 809 pregnant women in Denmark.
    • Assessment of milk consumption at gestational week 30.
    • Measurement of birth weight and birth length, with offspring’s height- and growth-related biomarkers at ~20 years of age.
  • Key Findings:
    • As compared with maternal milk consumption of < 150 ml/day, consumption of ≥ 150 ml/day was associated with:

- 0.32 higher z-scores for birth weight and 0.34 higher z-scores for birth length.

- 0.19 higher z-scores for height at ~20 years of age (P = 0.16).

- ~8% higher levels of insulin-like growth factor I and ~14% higher insulin levels (P-values = 0.12 and 0.11 respectively).

  • Conclusion:
    Maternal milk consumption may have a growth-promoting influence on weight and length at birth, and the effect may track into early adult age.

Additional reading – Benefits of dairy consumption to females:
Link to dairy consumption on body composition and physical function in older women



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