The effect of maternal DHA supplementation on body fat mass in children at 7 years: follow-up of the DOMInO randomized controlled trial

K. Wood, E. Mantzioris, B. Lingwood, J. Couper, M. Makrides, R. A. Gibson, B. S. Muhlhausler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Animal studies have suggested that an increased supply of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA), in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), during the perinatal period can prevent later excess body fat mass. However, previous human studies have produced inconsistent findings, and few have assessed potential effects beyond 6 years of age. Objective: To evaluate the effect of supplementing women in the second half of pregnancy with omega-3 LCPUFA, chiefly as DHA, on the percentage body fat of children at 7 years of age, as assessed by two methods: air displacement plethysmography (BOD POD) and bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS). Design: A time-restricted follow up at 7 years of age of children born to mothers enrolled in DOMInO (DHA to Optimise Maternal Infant Outcome) randomized controlled trial, in which women took either high-DHA tuna oil (800 mg/day DHA) or placebo capsules from 20 weeks’ gestation to delivery, at Adelaide-based centers. Primary outcomes were the percentage body fat at 7 years of age as assessed by both BOD POD and BIS. Weight, height, waist/hip circumferences and BMI were also recorded. Results: A total of 252 DOMInO children (n=135 males, n=117 females) completed the follow up study. There were no differences between the DHA and placebo groups in percentage body fat as assessed by either BOD POD [adjusted mean difference: −0.35, 95% CI: −1.46, 2.16; P=0.71] or BIS [adjusted mean difference: 0.64, 95% CI: −0.99, 2.27; P=0.44]. BMI z-scores were also similar between groups [adjusted mean difference: 0.18, 95% CI: −0.10, 0.45; P=0.21]. There were also no differences in height, weight or waist and hip circumference between the DHA and placebo groups at 7 years of age. Conclusion: DHA supplementation in the second half of pregnancy has no effect on childhood growth or fat mass at 7 years of age, supporting findings from follow ups of the DOMInO children at 3 and 5 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2018


  • Air displacement plethysmography
  • Body composition
  • DHA
  • Growth
  • Maternal nutrition
  • Omega-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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