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