Update: Dec 26 2021 22:57 STI
London [UK], Dec. 26 (ANI): Helping women adopt healthy diets before pregnancy could reduce the risk of obesity for their children, suggest new research findings from the University of Southampton.
The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Childhood obesity rates are increasing around the world. In the UK, almost a quarter of under-fives are overweight or obese. This number increases to over a third by the time children enter high school.
Obese children are more likely to be obese adults, with long-term consequences for their health. Unhealthy diets are a major contributing factor.
New research, led by Dr Sarah Crozier, associate professor of statistical epidemiology at the University of Southampton, found that children aged eight or nine were more likely to be obese if their mothers had a poor diet for and before pregnancy. Research identifies these times as critical times when initiatives to reduce childhood obesity can be more effective.
Long term analysis
Researchers analyzed data on the diets of 2,963 mother-child pairs that were part of the UK Southampton Women’s Survey – a long-term study that tracks the health of mothers and their children. Women joined him before pregnancy when they first considered having a baby.
As part of the survey, women were interviewed and their responses used to complete questionnaires about their diet and that of their child. Researchers asked about the mother’s diet before she got pregnant and at 11 and 34 weeks pregnant. They also asked what the child ate at six months, one year, three years, six to seven, and eight to nine.
The dietary information collected was used to assign each mother-child pair a combined diet quality score. They used these scores to divide them into five groups: low, low-medium, medium, medium-best, and best.
Long term effects
Mothers who were younger had fewer college degrees, smoked, and had a higher body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy tended to be in a poorer diet group with their child.
When the children were between the ages of eight and nine, the researchers assessed the amount of fatty tissue in their bodies using a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner. They also calculated the child’s BMI, adjusting it for their age and gender.
The results showed that if a mother-child pair was in a lower food quality group, it was associated with a child with a higher body fat percentage and BMI by age eight or nine.
Dr Crozier, Associate Professor of Statistical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, said: ‘Childhood obesity is a significant and growing problem in the UK, causing long-lasting health problems that last for up to adulthood. This research shows the importance of intervening at the earliest possible stage in a child’s life, during pregnancy or even before conception, to enable us to cope. “(ANI)