Childhood Obesity Linked To Poor Diet During Pregnancy – Independent Newspapers Nigeria

Children whose mothers had a diet high in processed foods during pregnancy are at a greater risk of weight problems during childhood, research found.

Women who consumed red and processed meat and foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar were more likely to give birth to children who became overweight with less muscle mass the age of 10 or 11, researchers said. Almost no difference was seen in younger children.

Obese youngsters were more likely to be overweight in adulthood and face health problems, such as diabetes and heart issues.

“Children born to mothers who eat a low-quality diet – high in inflammation-associated foods – during pregnancy may be more likely to have obesity or excess body fat,” Ling-Wei Chen from University College Dublin’s school of public health said.

“Mounting evidence has pointed to the first 1,000 days of life – from conception to 2 years old – as a critical period for preventing childhood obesity.”

Researchers analysed data from 16,295 mother-child pairings in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK. The parent would report what they ate before and during the pregnancy, with diet graded on a five-point scale.

The body mass index of children was measured in early, mid and late childhood up to 11.

“Our findings suggest that promoting an overall healthy diet, high in fruit and vegetables and low in refined carbohydrates and red and processed meats, throughout pregnancy may help prevent childhood obesity,” said lead investigator Catherine Phillips, also from University College Dublin.

However, the report’s authors said the observational study didn’t demonstrate direct cause and effect, nor did it provide a biological reason why poor maternal diet might lead to childhood obesity.

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