The effectiveness of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid interventions during pregnancy on obesity measures in the offspring: an up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis

Mariam Vahdaninia, Heather Mackenzie, Taraneh Dean, Suzannah Helps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background:
The potential role of ω-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) supplementation during pregnancy
on subsequent risk of obesity outcomes in the offspring is not clear and there is a need to synthesise this evidence.
Objective:
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including the most recent studies,
was conducted to assess the effectiveness of ω-3 LCPUFA interventions during pregnancy on obesity measures, e.g. BMI,
body weight, fat mass in offspring.
Methods:
Included RCTs had a minimum of 1-month follow-up post-partum. The search included CENTRAL, MEDLINE,
SCOPUS, WHO’s International Clinical Trials Reg., E-theses and Web of Science databases. Study quality was evaluated
using the Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias tool.
Results:
Eleven RCTs, from ten unique trials, (3644 children) examined the effectiveness of ω-3 LCPUFA maternal supple-
mentation during pregnancy on the development of obesity outcomes in offspring. There were heterogeneities between the
trials in terms of their sample, type and duration of intervention and follow-up. Pooled estimates did not show an association
between prenatal intake of fatty acids and obesity measures in offspring.
Conclusion:
These results indicate that maternal supplementation with ω-3 LCPUFA during pregnancy does not have a ben-
eficial effect on obesity risk. Due to the high heterogeneity between studies along with small sample sizes and high rates of
attrition, the effects of ω-3 LCPUFA supplementation during pregnancy for prevention of childhood obesity in the long-term
remains unclear. Large high-quality RCTs are needed that are designed specifically to examine the effect of prenatal intake
of fatty acids for prevention of childhood obesity. There is also a need to determine specific sub-groups in the population
that might get a greater benefit and whether different ω-3 LCPUFA, i.e. eicosapentaenoic (EPA) vs. docosahexanoic (DHA)
acids might potentially have different effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Keywords

  • Systematic review
  • fatty acids
  • Growth

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