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An unhealthy diet during pregnancy can lead to obesity in children: Study

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Recent studies have shown that a pregnant mother’s diet can have a significant impact on her child’s weight, and an unhealthy diet can easily lead to childhood obesity.

Researchers say that the first few years of a child’s life, including the time spent in utero, and their diet play a more important role in their future than initially thought.

Ling-Wei Chen of the University College Dublin School of Public Health is one of the authors of this study, saying that children born to mothers who eat a lot of processed foods stuffed with sugar and salt are at increased risk of obesity as a child. Stated.

“Children born to mothers who eat a low-quality diet (often inflammatory-related foods) during pregnancy are more likely to have obesity and excess body fat,” Chen told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Evidence is increasing, pointing out the first 1,000 days of life from pregnancy to the age of two as an important period to prevent childhood obesity,” he said.

Childhood obesity often persists into adulthood and is at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems.

To investigate how mothers’ diets affect childhood obesity, Chen et al. Analyzed data collected from 16,295 mother-child pairs in Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Poland. On average, mothers were 30 years old and had a healthy body mass index (BMI), a standard indicator of obesity calculated based on weight, height, and gender. The women reported the food they ate before and during pregnancy. Researchers rated the diet on a five-point scale.

Participants on the healthiest diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, were at one end of the spectrum. On the other side, there were people who ate a lot of lean and processed meats, along with foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.

In follow-up, children’s BMI was calculated in early childhood, mid-term, and late-stage, approximately 10-11 years. They found that older children born to poorly-fed mothers during pregnancy were more likely to have significantly more fat and less muscle mass. However, little difference was seen in young children.

“Our findings show that promoting an overall healthy diet with high fruit and vegetables, low refined carbohydrates, red meat and processed meats throughout pregnancy may help prevent childhood obesity. “It suggests that there is,” said Catherine Phillips, also a senior researcher at the University of Dublin.

Previous studies have shown that low levels of muscle mass may be associated with a higher combined risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. The authors warned that their observational studies did not directly indicate the cause and effect and did not biologically explain why a mother’s poor diet leads to childhood obesity.

One of the possible reasons is in the area of ​​epigenetics. Epigenetics is still a non-genetic effect that can be inherited, Phillips said.

Early studies on pregnancy and child health were in line with the results of the new study and concluded that: Vitamins are very important..Another important aspect revealed by previous researchers is Potential adverse effects of mother’s stress on children During and after pregnancy.

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