Paris – AFP
Researchers have concluded that babies born to mothers who eat a lot of processed foods rich in sugar and salt face a greater risk of developing obesity later in childhood. “Babies born to mothers who follow a low-quality diet during pregnancy may be more likely to suffer from obesity or excess body fat,” said Ling Wei Chen of the University of Dublin’s School of Public Health in a statement. “Increasing evidence indicates that the first 1,000 days of life, from pregnancy to the age of two years, were a sensitive period in terms of preventing obesity in children,” he added. Childhood obesity often persists into adulthood, and is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other health problems. To study how a maternal diet affects child obesity, Chen and colleagues analyzed data collected from 16,295 mother-and-child couples in Ireland, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Poland. The mothers were, on average, 30 years old and had a healthy body mass index. This index is used to assess the proportion of overweight or obesity in a person, and is reached by dividing the weight (in kilograms) by height (meters) squared. Women reported the food they ate before and during pregnancy, and researchers rated the diet on a five-point scale.
Food quality The participants were divided into two groups, the first includes women who followed the healthiest diets, that is, those rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes. The second section included women who ate a lot of red or processed meat, as well as food items rich in saturated fat, sugar and salt. During follow-up, BMI was calculated for children in early, middle and late childhood stages, from approximately 10 to 11 years old. The researchers concluded that older children born to mothers who ate poor quality food throughout pregnancy were more likely to have more fat and less muscle mass. However, the researchers did not notice any significant difference in younger children.
Epigenetics: “The results indicate that promoting a comprehensive healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, with few refined carbohydrates and red and processed meats throughout pregnancy, may help prevent childhood obesity,” said the lead author of the study, Catherine Phillips of the University of Dublin. . Previous studies have concluded that lower levels of muscle mass may be linked to an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. The authors cautioned that their observational study does not show a direct causal link, nor does it biologically explain why a poor diet in a mother causes childhood obesity. Phillips said one possible explanation lies in the world of epigenetics, which are non-hereditary effects that can nevertheless be transmitted genetically.
Paris – AFP