Researchers: Weight Gain During Pregnancy Could Cause Childhood Obesity

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File photo of a child's food against its parent's hand. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

File photo of a child’s foot against its parent’s hand. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)

CBS Connecticut (con't)

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BOSTON (CBS Connecticut) – Experts at Boston Children’s Hospital have found a connection between weight gain in expecting mothers and childhood obesity in their offspring.

Dr. David Ludwig and his associates noted in their findings that, for every approximate two-pound weight gain in a pregnant woman, an 0.0220 increase in the child’s body mass index was found, MedPage Today learned.

The amount of weight gained was determined by calculating the difference between woman’s weight during pregnancy and her weight after delivery. Finding the body mass indexes of the children involved using school records to ascertain a child’s height and weight during the study period.

The effects lasted until the children reached age 12, researchers additionally stated.

“[B]ecause childhood body weight predicts adult body weight, our study suggests that overnutrition in pregnancy may program the fetus for an increased lifetime risk for obesity, though the magnitude of this effect may be small,” the team involved in the study was quoted as saying. “However, because inadequate weight gain during pregnancy can also adversely affect the developing fetus, it will be essential for women to receive clear information about what constitutes optimal weight gain during pregnancy.”

The mothers and children involved in every live birth in Arkansas that took place between January of 1989 and December of 2005 were studied by the team of researchers. Follow-up examinations on the children were performed by researchers between August of 2003 and June of 2011.

In all, a reported 42,133 women and 91,045 children were observed over the course of the extensive study, according to MedPage Today.

Several organizations – including the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Princeton’s Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the New Balance Foundation, as well as the National Institutes of Health and the journal PLoS Medicine – were said to have supported the study.

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