Researchers have concluded that babies born to mors who eat a lot of processed foods rich in sugar and salt face a greater risk of developing obesity later in childhood.
“Babies born to mors who follow a lowquality diet during pregnancy may be more likely to suffer from obesity or excess body fat,” said Ling Wei Chen of University of Dublin’s School of Public Health in a statement.
“Increasing evidence indicates that first 1,000 days of life, from pregnancy to age of two years, were a sensitive period in terms of preventing obesity in children,” he added.
Childhood obesity often persists into adulthood and is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and or health problems.
To study how a mor’s diet affects child obesity, Chen and colleagues analyzed data collected from 16,295 mors and children in Ireland, France, Britain, Nerlands and Poland.
The mors were, on average, 30 years old and had a healthy body mass index.
This indicator is used to evaluate percentage of overweight or obesity in a person. It is arrived at by dividing weight (in kilograms) by length (in meters) squared.
Women reported food y ate before and during pregnancy. The researchers rated diet on a fivepoint scale.
The participants were divided into two groups. The first includes women who followed healthiest diets, that is, those rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy products, nuts and legumes.
The second section included women who ate a lot of red or processed meat, as well as food items saturated with saturated fat, sugar and salt.
During followup, BMI was calculated for children in early, middle and late childhood stages, from approximately 10 to 11 years old.
The researchers concluded that older children born to mors who ate poor quality food throughout pregnancy were more likely to have more fat and less muscle mass.
However, researchers did not notice any significant difference in younger children.
“Our results indicate that promoting a comprehensive healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables with few refined carbohydrates and red and processed meats, throughout pregnancy may help prevent childhood obesity,” said lead author Carine Phillips of University of Dublin.
Previous studies have concluded that lower levels of muscle mass may be linked to an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
The authors cautioned that ir observational study does not show a direct causal link, nor does it biologically explain why a poor diet in a mor might lead to obesity in children.
Phillips said one possible explanation lies in world of epigenetics, which are nonhereditary effects that can neverless be transmitted genetically.