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Maternal smoking and low family income during pregnancy as predictors of the relationship between depression and adiposity in young adults

  • S. K. Bhat (a1), L. J. Beilin (a1), M. Robinson (a2), S. Burrows (a1) and T. A. Mori (a1)...


There is an increasing incidence of overweight/obesity and mental health disorders in young adults and the two conditions often coexist. We aimed to investigate the influence of antenatal and postnatal factors that may underlie this association with a focus on maternal prenatal smoking, socio-economic status and gender. Data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study (women enrolled 1989–1991) including 1056 offspring aged 20 years (cohort recalled 2010–2012) were analyzed (2015–2016) using multivariable models for associations between offspring depression scores (DASS-21 Depression-scale) and body mass index (BMI), adjusting for pregnancy and early life factors and offspring behaviours. There was a significant positive relationship between offspring depression-score and BMI independent of gender and other psychosocial covariates. There was a significant interaction between maternal prenatal smoking and depression-score (interaction coefficient=0.096; 95% CI: 0.006, 0.19, P=0.037), indicating the relationship between depression-score and BMI differed according to maternal prenatal smoking status. In offspring of maternal prenatal smokers, a positive association between BMI and depression-score (coefficient=0.133; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.21, P=0.001) equated to 1.1 kg/m2 increase in BMI for every 1standard deviation (8 units) increase in depression-score. Substituting low family income during pregnancy for maternal prenatal smoking in the interaction (interaction coefficient=0.091; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.17, P=0.027) showed a positive association between BMI and depression score only among offspring of mothers with a low family income during pregnancy (coefficient=0.118; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.18, P<0.001). There were no significant effects of gender on these associations. Whilst further studies are needed to determine whether these associations are supported in other populations, they suggest potentially important maternal behavioural and socio-economic factors that identify individuals vulnerable to the coexistence of obesity and depression in early adulthood.


Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr. S. K. Bhat, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Royal Perth Hospital Unit, GPO Box X2213, Perth, WA 6847, Australia. E-mail:


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Maternal smoking and low family income during pregnancy as predictors of the relationship between depression and adiposity in young adults

  • S. K. Bhat (a1), L. J. Beilin (a1), M. Robinson (a2), S. Burrows (a1) and T. A. Mori (a1)...


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