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The risk of early death is higher for children of obese mothers

Written by | 12 Sep 2013 | All Medical News

‘Big 4’ Journal Highlights – British Medical Journal (BMJ) – by Bruce Sylvester – Children of obese mothers are more likely to die before age 55 than children of normal weight mothers, researchers reported on August 13, 2013 in the British Medical Journal/BMJ.

Professor Rebecca Reynolds, of the Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Research at the University of Edinburgh, said, “As obesity among pregnant women is rising, along with levels of obesity in the general population, our findings are of major public health concern. This study highlights the need for more research to better understand and prevent the impact of obesity during pregnancy for offspring in later life and the biological processes at work.”

Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland retrospectively analyzed data from health records of more than 37,000 babies delivered between 1950 and 1976. All births took place in Aberdeen. Factors such as socio-economic status were considered in the analysis. The records were gathered from the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank.

They found that, for children of mothers who were obese when they became pregnant, hospital admissions in later life with heart problems including angina, heart attacks and strokes were almost a third higher than for children of normal weight mothers.

The authors noted that prior research indicates that children of obese mothers are at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. They also noted that during the time in which the data was collected only one in 25 expectant mothers was obese. Today, about one in five expectant mothers in Scotland is obese.

Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, of the University of Aberdeen, said: “This study highlights the importance of weight management in mothers and their offspring. We need to find out how to help young women and their children control their weight better so that chronic disease risk is not transmitted from generation to generation.”

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