Maternal BMI, breastfeeding and perinatal factors that influence early childhood growth trajectories: a scoping review

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Obesity rates among children are rapidly rising internationally and have been linked to noncommunicable diseases in adulthood. Individual preventive strategies have not effectively reduced global obesity rates, leading to a gap in clinical services regarding the development of early perinatal interventions. The objective of this scoping review is to explore the relationship between maternal BMI and breastfeeding behaviors on child growth trajectories to determine their relevance in developing interventions aimed at preventing childhood obesity.The scoping review was guided and informed by the Arksey and O'Malley (2005) framework. A systematic search was performed in four databases. Studies included in the final review were collated and sorted into relevant themes. A systematic search yielded a total of 5831 records (MEDLINE: 1242, EMBASE: 2629, CINAHL: 820, PubMed: 1140). Results without duplicates (n = 4190) were screened based on relevancy of which 197 relevant-full-text articles were retrieved and assessed for eligibility resulting in 14 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Data were extracted and charted for the studies and six themes were identified: (1) healthy behaviors, lifestyle, and social economic status; (2) parental anthropometrics and perinatal weight status; (3) genetics, epigenetics, and fetal programming; (4) early infant feeding; (5) infant growth trajectories; and (6) targeted prevention and interventions. Early life risk factors for child obesity are multifactorial and potentially modifiable. Several at-risk groups were identified who would benefit from early preventative interventions targeting the importance of healthy weight gain, exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, and healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease