Can a pregnant mom’s diet really contribute to child obesity?

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Young pregnant woman sitting on sofa with breakfast, top viewYes. A mother can influence her child’s later risk of obesity.

How?

One way a mother can influence her child’s obesity risk is by gaining more weight than recommended during her pregnancy, as mentioned in The Right Weight for your Due Date?

1. Gaining above the recommended Gestational Weight Gain (GWG) has shown to influence obesity risk later on.

A study published by the International Journal of Obesity suggests that greater GWG may contribute to the obesity epidemic among children and adults (Schack-Nielsen, 2010).

The study is of particular importance as it states  which is of ” the greatest GWG occurs among non-obese women. Thus, this effect seems to recruit subjects to the obese segment of the population from the non-obese segment in the preceding generation.”

Isn’t that absolutely amazing? So, even if you are in the right weight range and you are healthy, and you gain above the GWG you can be contributing to your child’s obesity risk.

This has been shown in several other studies. For example, it has been shown that for every 1 kg weight gain during pregnancy there was a 3% higher chance of child being overweight at age 7. (Wrotniak, 2008)

GWG above the recommended guidelines is associated with LGA (Large for Gestational age) infants which is defined as infants above the 90th percentile. Infants that are LGA have been shown to be more likely to be obese or overweight in adolescents and adulthood according to a report by the Ohio Department of health “Maternal and Infant Risk Factors for Childhood Obesity”

In addition, babies born LGA carry risks of their own such as shoulder dystocia and other forms of birth injury, as well as cesarean delivery.

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