Unhealthy diets in pregnant women 'can affect obesity risk of future generations'

17th June 2016

Pregnant women have been warned that an unhealthy diet could have an impact on the obesity risk of future generations of their family.

A new study from Washington University in St Louis examined mice and found that a high-fat, high-sugar diet can cause genetic abnormalities that are passed down through the female bloodline to at least three subsequent generations.

Maternal obesity and its associated metabolic problems are inherited through mitochondrial DNA present in the unfertilised egg, putting future offspring at an elevated risk of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Further research will be needed to ascertain whether a consistent diet low in fat and sugar, as well as regular exercise, can help to reverse these genetic metabolic abnormalities.

Senior study author Dr Kelle Moley, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Washington University School of Medicine, said: "It's important to note that in humans, in which the diets of children closely mirror those of their parents, the effects of maternal metabolic syndrome may be greater than in our mouse model."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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