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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Fetal life may be a critical period for the development and/or programming of metabolic systems, including the skeleton. However, it is unclear on the association between maternal nutrition during pregnancy and bone mass in their offspring at adolescence. SUBJECTS/METHODS: This was a birth cohort study of 216 adolescents (16.2+/-0.4 years). Dietary intake was measured by food frequency questionnaire. Bone densitometry was measured at the femoral neck, lumbar spine and total body by DXA. RESULTS: After adjustment for confounders, bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck was positively associated with magnesium density and negatively associated with fat density (all P-values <0.05). BMD of the lumbar spine was positively associated with calcium, magnesium and phosphorus density and negatively associated with fat density (all P-values <0.05). Maternal milk intake was significantly positively associated with lumbar spine BMD. After considering all significant nutrients in the same model, fat density remained significant negatively for the femoral neck and lumbar spine, whereas magnesium density remained significant positively for the femoral neck. No nutrient was significant for the total body. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal intake of milk, fat and magnesium during the third trimester of pregnancy is predictive of BMD at age 16, suggesting that in utero diet influences peak bone mass possibly through programming bone responses.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Clin Nutr

Publication Date





131 - 137


Adolescent, Adult, Bone Density, Calcium, Dietary, Diet, Diet Surveys, Dietary Fats, Female, Femur, Humans, Lumbar Vertebrae, Magnesium, Male, Milk, Human, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena, Prospective Studies, Spine, Surveys and Questionnaires, Tasmania, Young Adult