BACKGROUND : Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), may influence offspring weight gain. More
prospective epidemiological studies are needed to compliment the growing body of evidence from animal studies.
METHODS : Serum from 412 pregnant Norwegian and Swedish women participating in a Scandinavian prospective
cohort study were collected in 1986–88, and analyses of two perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and five organochlorines
(OCs) were conducted. We used linear and logistic regression models with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to evaluate the
associations between maternal serum POP concentrations at 17–20 weeks of gestation and child overweight/obesity
(body mass index (BMI) ≥ 85th percentile) at 5-year follow-up. Results were further stratified by country after testing for
effect modification. We also assessed potential non-monotonic dose-response (NMDR) relationships.
RESULTS : In adjusted linear models, we observed increased BMI-for-age-and-sex z-score (β = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.01–0.35), and
increased triceps skinfold z-score (β = 0.15, 95% CI: 0.02–0.27) in children at 5-year follow-up per ln-unit increase in maternal
serum perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations. We observed increased odds for child overweight/obesity (BMI ≥
85th percentile) for each ln-unit increase in maternal serum PFOS levels (adjusted OR: 2.04, 95% CI: 1.11–3.74), with stronger
odds among Norwegian children (OR: 2.96, 95% CI: 1.42–6.15). We found similar associations between maternal serum
perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) concentrations and child overweight/obesity. We found indications of NMDR relationships
between PFOS and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) 153 and child overweight/obesity among Swedish children.
CONCLUSION : We found positive associations between maternal serum PFAS concentrations and child overweight/obesity
at 5-year follow-up, particularly among Norwegian participants. We observed some evidence for NMDR relationships
among Swedish participants.
Additional file 1: Supplementary figures, tables and information.