Eating for two can predict daughter’s future obesity

August 3, 2009

As a society we are increasingly overweight, and pregnant women are not immune. However, there is now evidence that the mother’s weight and the amount she gains during pregnancy can have a serious impact on her daughter’s risk of obesity decades later. Eating for two is not an option, and Alison Stuebe, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of North Carolina who carried out the study, analysed data on more than 24,000 mother-daughter pairs.

She found that the heavier a mother was before her pregnancy, then she was twice as likely to have a daughter who was obese as an adult. Daughters whose mothers gained 15 to 19 pounds during pregnancy had the lowest risk of obesity whereas daughters whose mothers gained more than 40 pounds were almost twice as likely to be obese at age 18 and later in life.

Obviously diet through childhood and eating patterns picked up in the family will have played their part, but she stressed that women should aim for a healthy weight before they get pregnant, and then gain only a moderate amount.


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