Would-Be Mom's Diet Determines Baby's Obesity Risk

By Camille H, Parent Herald January 27, 12:02 am

The diet of mother's-to-be is crucial in determining their baby's risk for obesity, a recent study finds.

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and the University of Cologne found that children of obese mothers who consumed high-fat diets during their pregnancy are at a higher risk for obesity and other metabolic disorders throughout their lives. They developed a mouse model of metabolic programming in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research where they fed six mice with either a high-fat or a normal diet weeks before they became pregnant.

"Our study suggests that expecting mothers can have major impact on the long-term metabolic health of their children by properly controlling nutrition during this critical development period of the offspring," said Tamas Horvath, co-author of the study. Aside from obesity, Dr. Graham Burdge from the University of Southampton stressed that it has been well established that "nutrition in early life has lasting effects on cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers."

"We definitely believe these are fundamental biological processes also affecting humans and influencing how children may eventually become obese," said Horvath. "It seems, at least, that this could have a major impact and we need to explore it further in both animal and human studies." Their study was published in the journal Cell. Obesity is affecting millions of people all over the world and is seen to run in families due to shared eating habits. It is therefore recommended that pregnant and lactating mothers eat nutritious foods for both their health and their baby's. 

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