Smoking, extra weight in pregnancy tied to obesity throughout childhood

June 23, 2014, Reuters

By Shereen Lehman

Women who smoke during pregnancy and are overweight early in pregnancy are more likely to have children who become obese as toddlers and stay obese through their teenage years, according to a new study.

Obesity rates have more than doubled among U.S. children and quadrupled among U.S. adolescents in the past three decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in every three young people is obese.

The authors of the new study looked at how children’s body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight in relation to height, changed over time, from ages 1 to 18. They found being consistently obese was associated with certain exposures in the womb, and with having asthma and other problems in adolescence.

Past studies looking at risk factors for obesity and the consequences of being obese have focused on weight at one point in time, Dr. Wilfried Karmaus said. Continue reading

Gaining excess or too little weight during pregnancy tied to child obesity risk

April 14, 2014, Science World Report

According to researchers at Kaiser Permanente, gaining either excess weight or too little weight during pregnancy appears to elevate the risk of having an obese or overweight child. This study examined recommendations of the Institute of Medicine regarding pregnancy weight gain in relation to childhood obesity.

“Gaining either too little or too much weight in pregnancy may permanently affect mechanisms that manage energy balance and metabolism in the offspring, such as appetite control and energy expenditure,” study’s lead author Sneha Sridhar, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, said in a statement. “This could potentially have long-term effects on the child’s subsequent growth and weight.”

For this study, the researchers looked at the health records of over 4,145 racially diverse women who completed the health survey taken from 2007-2009 and had a baby.  Apart from this, the researchers even looked at the medical records of children of ages 2 to 5 years. Continue reading

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy tied to childhood obesity

Oct. 1, 2013, Medical Xpress

A study of 41,133 mothers and their children in Arkansas has shown that high pregnancy weight gain increases the risk of obesity in those children through age 12. The findings, published Oct. 1 in PLOS Medicine, suggest pregnancy may be an especially important time to prevent obesity in the next generation.

“From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic,” says the study’s senior author David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Programs to limit pregnancy weight gain could help prevent some cases of childhood obesity. “Pregnancy presents an attractive target for obesity prevention programs, because women tend to be particularly motivated to change behavior during this time,” says Ludwig. Continue reading

Mom’s obesity tied to higher risk of preemies

June 11, 2013, Reuters

By Genevra Pittman

Pregnant women who are overweight or obese are more likely to give birth prematurely, according to a new study from Sweden.

Researchers found that link was strongest for babies born the earliest – between 22 and 27 weeks – and therefore most at risk of complications.

“This study suggests that there is a direct association between maternal overweight and obesity during pregnancy and the risk of preterm birth,” said Dr. Muktar Aliyu, who has studied pregnancy risks at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. Continue reading