Overweight mums have chubby bubs

Oct 22, 2008

University of New South Wales (UNSW) research has highlighted a link between childhood obesity and a mother's diet before and during pregnancy. The work in animals proves that overweight expectant mothers are more likely to have babies with more body fat, who are at greater risk of diabetes and lipid metabolic disorders later in life.

Previous research shows that around 30 percent of women who become pregnant are overweight.

The research, published in the journal Endocrinology, shows pups from obese mother rats who were fed more milk are almost twice as heavy as those born to lean mothers with a regular milk consumption at weaning age.

The cafeteria diet used to feed the mother rats is designed to approximate a western diet which people eat everyday at home. It is of high fat content, and palatable with a lot of variety.

The research found that the mother rats ate more than double the calories of the control group.

"Maternal obesity and overfeeding early on in life caused significant changes in the chemicals that regulate appetite, which may suggest that the babies were programmed to eat differently from those born from lean mothers," says Professor Morris.

"Appetite is controlled by particular centres within the brain. Other research in this field* suggests that maternal food preferences during pregnancy can affect the food preferences of offspring.

"As brain control of appetite is likely set early in life, nutrient availability in the fetal or early post-natal period may contribute to adult obesity," says Professor Morris.

The work also highlighted for the first time, different impacts of pre- and postnatal overfeeding on fat accumulation, circulating lipid levels, glucose metabolism, and brain appetite regulators.

In a separate paper, the same UNSW research group found that animals that were slightly undernourished in their early life had a head start on health.

"The less milk the babies had – and the lighter they were – the higher were levels of a hormone which is known to be protective of cardiovascular disease," says Professor Morris.

The research, which is to be published in the International Journal of Obesity, also shows that pups that were undernourished remained lighter as adults, while those that were over-fed as babies continued to be fatter as adults.

"We know that undernutrition has an effect on longevity and this research seems to support this," says Professor Morris.

Source: University of New South Wales

Explore further: Can YouTube save your life?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bid to clean up the world

Sep 17, 2013

An international scientific initiative aimed at reducing the impact of human-made pollution on the health and wellbeing of the whole world was launched in Melbourne, Australia, today.

Conversion from bad fat to good fat

Apr 28, 2013

Scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland have shown for the first time that brown and white fat cells in a living organism can be converted from one cell type to the other. Their work, using mice as a model organism, provides ...

Eating solid food early sets marmosets on path to obesity

Apr 10, 2013

Baby marmoset monkeys that began eating solid food earlier than their peers were significantly more likely to be obese at 1 year of age, scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

8 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

10 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

11 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments : 0