Meta-Analysis on Associations Between Smoking Cessation During Pregnancy and Childhood Obesity and Overweight

Jacob Perkins and Sherry Ong

Pregnant mother advocating against smoking. .

Pregnant mother advocating against smoking.

Undergraduate Student Project


Have you ever thought about the high prevalence of obesity in children? What about the public health issue of mothers smoking during pregnancy? What if I told you that these are connected? My name is Jacob Perkins, a senior Biomedical Sciences major at the University at Buffalo. I have been working in Dr. Xiaozhong Wen's research lab for the past three years helping pregnant women quit smoking and studying the growth of their children. Many people know that smoking during pregnancy can cause low birth weight and other complications, but not many know that smoking during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of childhood obesity and overweight. My research is on how quitting smoking during pregnancy and the timing of this quitting can reduce these risks. I am the project leader of a research team with two other research assistants and we are conducting a meta-analysis to determine the effect of quitting. We review international studies and combine the data found on this topic to come up with a more certain conclusion through pooled odds ratios. This type of finding can guide future interventions that help mothers quit smoking during pregnancy and improve the lives of their children.


Introduction/Background: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have concluded that maternal smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for childhood overweight/obesity. We are performing a novel meta-analysis on the extent to which maternal smoking cessation during pregnancy and the timing of smoking cessation, protect against childhood overweight/obesity.

Hypothesis: Children of quitters will have improved overweight, obesity, and BMI z-score outcomes, especially when quitting occurs before 27 weeks of pregnancy.

Experimental Methods: Two research assistants reviewed abstracts/articles from PubMed, EMBASE, and CENTRAL. 811 articles were identified using search criteria including: the exposure variable (smoking cessation), exposure period (pregnancy), outcome (obesity/overweight), and outcome age (childhood/children).

DATA: After screening titles and abstracts, 27 were eligible for full text review. 12 articles contained outcome variables and smoking cessation status. The pooled adjusted odds ratio for children of quitters for overweight was 1.26 (95%CI: 1.05,1.50) and for obesity was 1.51 (95%CI: 1.09,2.10).

Summary/Conclusion: Raw data supports our hypotheses. More results pending.

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