MONDAY, Oct. 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with smaller child height from age 4 to 8 years, according to a study published online Oct. 31 in JAMA Network Open.

Jessica L. Gleason, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined the association of pregnancy caffeine and paraxanthine measures with child growth in a contemporary cohort with low caffeine consumption (Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes cohort of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fetal Growth Studies [ECHO-FGS], conducted at 10 sites from 2009 to 2013) and a historical cohort with high caffeine consumption (Collaborative Perinatal Project [CPP], conducted at 12 sites from 1959 to 1965).

The researchers found that in ECHO-FGS, 788 children of women in the fourth versus first quartile of plasma caffeine concentrations had lower height z scores (β = −0.21), while only in the third quartile were differences in weight z score observed (β = −0.27). In CPP, 1,622 children of women in the highest caffeine quintile group had lower height z scores than their peers from the lowest group starting at age 4 years; with each successive year of age, the gap widened (β = −0.16 and −0.37 at 4 and 8 years, respectively). At ages 5 to 8 years, slight reductions in weight were seen for children in the third versus the first caffeine quintile (β = −0.16 to −0.22). In both cohorts, results were consistent for paraxanthine concentrations.

“The clinical implication of this height difference is unclear and warrants future investigation,” the authors write.

One author disclosed serving as a consultant to Organon and Cooper Surgical.

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