Associations of Maternal Educational Level, Proximity to Greenspace During Pregnancy, and Gestational Diabetes With Body Mass Index From Infancy to Early Adulthood: A Proof-of-Concept Federated Analysis in 18 Birth Cohorts

Publication authors

Tim Cadman*, Ahmed Elhakeem, Johan Lerbech Vinther, Demetris Avraam, Paula Carrasco, Lucinda Calas, Marloes Cardo, Marie-Aline Charles, Eva Corpeleijn, Sarah Crozier, Montserrat de Castro, Marisa Estarlich, Amanda Fernandes, Serena Fossatti, Dariusz Gruszfeld, Kathrin Gurlich, Veit Grote, Sido Haakma, Jennifer R Harris, Barbara HeudeRae-Chi Huang, Jesús Ibarluzea, Hazel Inskip, Vincent Jaddoe, Berthold Koletzko, Veronica Luque, Yannis Manios, Giovenale Moirano, George Moschonis, Johanna Nader, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, Rosie McEachen, Angela Pinot de Moira, Maja Popovic, Theano Roumeliotaki, Theodosia Salika, Loreto Santa Marina, Susana Santos, Sylvain Serbert, Evangelia Tzorovili, Marina Vafeiadi, Elvira Verduci, Martine Vrijheid, T G M Vrijkotte, Marieke Welten, John Wright, Tiffany C Yang, Daniela Zugna, Deborah Lawlor


International sharing of cohort data for research is important and challenging. We explored the feasibility of multi-cohort federated analyses by examining associations between three pregnancy exposures (maternal education, exposure to green vegetation and gestational diabetes) with offspring BMI from infancy to 17 years. We used data from 18 cohorts (n=206,180 mother-child pairs) from the EU Child Cohort Network and derived BMI at ages 0-1, 2-3, 4-7, 8-13 and 14-17 years. Associations were estimated using linear regression via one-stage IPD meta-analysis using DataSHIELD. Associations between lower maternal education and higher child BMI emerged from age 4 and increased with age (difference in BMI z-score comparing low with high education age 2-3 years = 0.03 [95% CI 0.00, 0.05], 4-7 years = 0.16 [95% CI 0.14, 0.17], 8-13 years = 0.24 [95% CI 0.22, 0.26]). Gestational diabetes was positively associated with BMI from 8 years (BMI z-score difference = 0.18 [CI 0.12, 0.25]) but not at younger ages; however associations attenuated towards the null when restricted to cohorts which measured GDM via universal screening. Exposure to green vegetation was weakly associated with higher BMI up to age one but not at older ages. Opportunities of cross-cohort federated analyses are discussed.