Childhood obesity is a global health concern that puts children at risk for developing serious health complications. With increasing rates worldwide, it is important to determine how to decrease its prevalence and promote prevention in future generations. Emerging evidence indicating that pre-pregnancy weight status and/or gestational weight gain (GWG) may be linked with overweight/obesity in children. Much of this body of research focused on weight status of offspring at birth and at preschool age. The purpose of this study is to: (1) analyze the research findings regarding obesity in children 5 to 18 years and their mother’s pre-pregnancy weight status and/or GWG, and (2) make recommendations for prevention based on a review of current research. A database search of CINAHL, Medline, ERIC and PsycInfo was conducted. A total of 14 articles were identified based on their relevance to key search terms and meeting criteria. This literature review indicated support for associations between an underweight/overweight/obese pre-pregnancy weight status combined with greater than recommended total GWG and higher overweight/obesity in older children and adolescent offspring. Findings also supported the associations between pre-pregnancy weight status with high GWG during early pregnancy and increased offspring overweight/obesity. Pre-pregnancy overweight/obese weight status of mothers was the single factor consistently found to be strongly associated with risk for overweight and obesity in children 5 to 18 years of age. Results of this review support the need for further education, interventions, and policies aimed at healthy nutrition for women during and prior to pregnancy to prevent childhood obesity.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Quelly, Susan


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing




Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date

May 2018