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Pregnancy diet and offspring asthma risk over a 10-year period: the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study, Ireland
  1. Karien Viljoen1,
  2. Ricardo Segurado1,2,
  3. John O’Brien1,
  4. Celine Murrin1,
  5. John Mehegan1,
  6. Cecily C Kelleher1
  7. DMed on behalf of the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study Steering Group
    1. 1 School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sport Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    2. 2 Centre for Support and Training in Analysis and Research, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    1. Correspondence to Dr Karien Viljoen; karien.viljoen{at}


    Objective The association of maternal pregnancy diet with offspring asthma risk have been reported. However, literature on longitudinal patterns of asthma risk relative to intrauterine nutrient exposure is limited. We aimed to establish whether vegetable, oily fish and vitamin D intake during pregnancy are associated with childhood asthma risk over a 10-year period in the Irish Republic.

    Design Mother–child pairs (n=897) from the Lifeways prospective birth cohort, with data on nutrient intake during pregnancy and asthma status, respectively, were eligible for inclusion in the analysis. Data on socioeconomic and morbidity indicators over 10 years of follow-up on mothers and the index child were collected through self-administered questionnaires. Asthma status as diagnosed by the general practitioner at any time point over 10 years was related to maternal vegetable, oily fish and vitamin D intake during pregnancy, while adjusting for gestational age, socioeconomic status, smoking at delivery, breast feeding, season of birth and supplement use. Data were modelled with a marginal model on correlated observations over time within individuals.

    Results In the fully adjusted model, asthma was inversely associated with higher daily average intake of oily fish (OR 0.23 per serving/day, 95% CI 0.04 to 1.41) and of vegetables (OR 0.96 per serving/day, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.05), but the confidence limits overlapped 1. A higher daily vitamin D intake was associated with reduced odds of asthma (OR 0.93 per μg/day, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.98).

    Conclusion This analysis suggests higher daily average intake of vitamin D in pregnancy is associated with asthma risk in offspring over the first 10 years of life.

    • asthma
    • childhood
    • DOHaD
    • pregnancy
    • vitamin D

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    • Contributors The Principal Investigator of the Lifeways Study, CCK, conceptualised the design of the study and supervised the overall project, including data analysis and interpretation. KV drafted the manuscript and undertook data collection, analyses and interpretation as part of her PhD. CM assisted with data collection, analyses and interpretation. RS provided statistical input relating to analyses and interpretation of data. JO’B and JM assisted with data management and data interpretation. All contributors reviewed and revised the manuscript and approved the final version as submitted.

    • Funding All stages of this study were funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Patient consent Obtained.

    • Ethics approval Human Research Ethics Committee, University College Dublin, Ireland.

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

    • Data sharing statement Additional unpublished data from the Lifeways study relating to cardiovascular risk/mortality and healthcare utilisation are available. Data can be accessed by collaborators or peers via written request to the principal investigator, CCK, ( and the study data manager, JM (

    • Collaborators Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study Steering Committee: Professor Gerard Bury, Professor Leslie Daly,Professor Sean Daly, Dr Orla Doyle, Dr Una B Fallon, Dr Frances B Hannon, Dr Howard Johnson, Dr Lucy J Jessop, Professor CCK, Professor Gerard Loftus, Professor John J Morrison, Professor Andrew W Murphy, Dr Celine Murrin,Professor Helen Roche, Dr Mary Rose Sweeney, Professor Richard Tremblay.