Putting on excess weight or having high blood sugar levels during pregnancy can “imprint” obesity in children, researchers have claimed.
Scientists from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research studied more than 24,000 mothers and their children over the course of 10 years. The study is said to be the largest on the topic and has been published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
Scientists looked at how a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy affects their kids. They found that when moms have high blood sugar and gain excess weight it changes their baby’s metabolism.
Researchers say the weight gain “imprints” the baby for childhood obesity. They aren’t sure exactly how it does this, but it seems the baby adapts to an overfed environment.
Children whose mothers had the highest blood sugar levels were at a greater risk for becoming obese. Those children were at least 30 percent more likely to be overweight or obese between the ages of 2 and 10, compared to children whose mothers had normal blood sugar levels.
It’s recommended that moms don’t gain more than 40 pounds while pregnant. Past studies show moms who gain more than that are more likely to have large babies who are then likely to become obese kids.
There are other factors that help determine if kids become overweight like poor eating and exercise habits, or not having access to healthy foods.