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Approved Research

Causal effects of maternal vegetarian diets during pregnancy on offspring health

Principal Investigator: Mr Peiyuan Huang
Approved Research ID: 80739
Approval date: February 1st 2022

Lay summary

Vegetarian diets are defined as diets without the intake of meat, fish, or seafood. Vegetarianism is socially and culturally patterned, and nutrient intakes also differ between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. While previous studies have found that vegetarian diets are associated with a range of health outcomes in the general population, evidence on the relationship between maternal vegetarian diets during pregnancy and offspring health remains scarce. This three-year project is part of a broader project that aims to investigate the influences of maternal vegetarian diets during pregnancy on a range of offspring health outcomes from birth to childhood. Using the UK Biobank data, we aim to identify the genetic determinants of vegetarianism and use them as a "proxy" of maternal vegetarianism to better examine its causal effects on offspring health. Given the increasing popularity of vegetarianism and the importance of optimal nutrition during pregnancy for maternal and child health, our findings will help comprehensively evaluate the pros and cons of the increasingly popular vegetarianism and have implications for dietary counselling and guidelines for pregnant women.