Author(s): Schell LM, Denham M, Stark AD, Gomez M, Ravenscroft J
To determine the influences of maternal diet and nutrition during pregnancy on the blood lead level of neonates, we conducted a study of mother-infant pairs from lower socioeconomic circumstances living in Albany County, New York. Maternal blood lead (MBPb), anthropometry, and diet were assessed in each trimester. Neonates' blood lead (NBPb) levels were low (geometric mean = 1.58 micro g/dL), and none had elevated blood lead. More than 50% of the mothers had intakes below the recommended dietary allowances for zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and kilocalories. As expected, MBPb was strongly and positively related to NBPb. Among the anthropometric measures of maternal nutritional status, variables measuring gain in weight and arm circumference were negatively related to NBPb. In multivariable models reflecting different analytic strageties and including MBPb, anthropometry, and sociodemographic characteristics, dietary intakes of iron and vitamin D were negatively related to NBPb. The effect of zinc varied substantially depending on model covariates. Effects of dietary constituents are difficult to distinguish, given the intercorrelated nature of nutrients in the diet. Nevertheless, the influences of maternal anthropometric variables, iron, and vitamin D on neonatal lead levels are clear in our analyses.