Parent's obesity linked to larger babies, claim experts

24 August 2011

Mothers with a high body mass index (BMI) prior to pregnancy significantly increase the chance of their children being fat and having associated health problems in later life, studies have shown.

The need for weight loss surgery later in life in order to stem weight gain could therefore increase for some adults as research from Imperial College London, published in the forthcoming edition of the Pediatric Journal, confirms the fact that a parent's weight directly affects that of their child.

Using magnetic resonance imaging to scan 105 babies, the data showed how children of high-BMI rated mothers had significantly more fat around the abdomen and in their livers.

Lead author Professor Neena Modi, from the college's department of medicine, said: "If these effects persist through childhood and beyond, they could put the child at risk of lifelong metabolic health problems.

"The prevention of obesity needs to begin in the womb."

Meanwhile, a study in the US bi-monthly journal Childhood Obesity found that an increase in wider public awareness of the dangers of having a high BMI resulted in lower numbers of children being affected by obesity in their samples.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Modi Neena, et al., "The influence of maternal body mass index on infant adiposity and hepatic lipid content." Pediatric Research, September 2011.

2 Kaufman, Francine, et al. "Effect of Secular Trends on a Primary Prevention Trial: The HEALTHY Study Experience". Childhood Obesity. August 2011

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