Maternal obesity in pregnancy impacts offspring cardiometabolic health: Systematic review and meta-analysis of animal studies.
Obesity before and during pregnancy leads to reduced offspring cardiometabolic health. Here, we systematically reviewed animal experimental evidence of maternal obesity before and during pregnancy and offspring anthropometry and cardiometabolic health. We systematically searched Embase and Medline from inception until January 2018. Eligible publications compared offspring of mothers with obesity to mothers with a normal weight. We performed meta-analyses and subgroup analyses. We also examined methodological quality and publication bias. We screened 2543 publications and included 145 publications (N = 21 048 animals, five species). Essential methodological details were not reported in the majority of studies. We found evidence of publication bias for birth weight. Offspring of mothers with obesity had higher body weight (standardized mean difference (SMD) 0.76 [95% CI 0.60;0.93]), fat percentage (0.99 [0.64;1.35]), systolic blood pressure (1.33 [0.75;1.91]), triglycerides (0.64 [0.42;0.86], total cholesterol (0.46 [0.18;0.73]), glucose level (0.43 [0.24;0.63]), and insulin level (0.81 [0.61;1.02]) than offspring of control mothers, but similar birth weight. Sex, age, or species did not influence the effect of maternal obesity on offspring's cardiometabolic health. Obesity before and during pregnancy reduces offspring cardiometabolic health in animals. Future intervention studies should investigate whether reducing obesity prior to conception could prevent these detrimental programming effects and improve cardiometabolic health of future generations.