A low-quality diet during pregnancy may be associated with obesity in late childhood

Eating a low-quality diet, rich in foods and nutrients associated with chronic inflammation, during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of obesity and excess body fat in children, especially in late childhood. The results are published in the Open Access Journal BMC Medicine.

Researchers from University College Dublin in Ireland found that babies of mothers who ate a high-quality diet and few foods associated with inflammation during pregnancy had a lower risk of obesity and lower levels of body fat in late childhood compared to children whose mothers ate less. A high-quality diet, rich in foods related to inflammation, during pregnancy. This association was not observed in early or middle childhood.

Corresponding author Ling Wei Chen said, “Childhood obesity often continues into adulthood and is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Increasing evidence indicates that a mother’s diet affects pregnancy and childbirth outcomes and refers to the first 1,000 A day in a child’s life, from pregnancy to two years of age, as a critical period for preventing obesity in children.Our research indicates that babies born to mothers who eat a low-quality, inflammatory-related diet, during pregnancy, may be more likely to develop obesity or excess fat In the body in late childhood of those born to mothers who ate high-quality foods, a diet low in foods associated with inflammation. “

To examine the effects of a mother’s diet on the likelihood of childhood obesity and increased body fat, the authors analyzed data collected from 16,295 mother-and-child couples in seven European birth cohort studies, from Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Poland, who are participating in the ALPHABET consortium. On average, the mothers were 30 years old and had a healthy BMI. Mothers reported the food they ate before and during pregnancy. Researchers evaluated the quality of the diet and whether the diets were high in foods and nutrients associated with chronic inflammation, such as saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and red and processed meats. BMI was calculated for children in early, middle and late childhood. Additional data on children’s body composition during mid- or late childhood was collected in five of the cohorts included in the study.

Researchers found that babies born to mothers who ate diets high in inflammatory-related foods throughout pregnancy tended to have lower levels of lean body mass, indicating lower levels of muscle mass, in late childhood compared to those whose mothers ate meals low in diet. Foods linked to infections. Previous research has found that lower levels of muscle mass may be associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity

An association between a low-quality maternal diet, a high proportion of foods linked to inflammation, and lower levels of lean body mass in late childhood was found to be stronger in boys than in girls. The association between a low-quality maternal diet, a high proportion of foods linked to inflammation, and higher levels of body fat in mid-childhood was stronger in girls than in boys.

Catherine Phillips, lead researcher and coordinator of the ALPHABET project, said: “Previous research has suggested that reduced carbs in mothers’ intake early in pregnancy can lead to epigenetic changes – that is, changes that alter gene expression – in children that may be associated with an increased risk of obesity. A low-quality maternal diet, rich in foods linked to inflammation, may likewise lead to genetic changes and that this may increase children’s risk of obesity or excess body fat in later childhood.Our findings suggest that promoting an overall healthy diet Rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in refined carbohydrates and red and processed meat, throughout pregnancy, it may help prevent obesity in children.

The authors caution that the observational nature of the study does not allow conclusions about the causal relationship between maternal diet, childhood obesity and excess body fat. Future research should consider in more detail other factors that can influence the risk of childhood obesity, such as childhood physical activity and diet, according to the authors.


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Editor’s Notes:

1. Research article:
“Maternal diet quality, potential for inflammation, and childhood obesity: combined data pooled for an analysis of seven European groups in the ALPHABET consortium”
BMC Medicine 2021
DOI: 10.1186 / s12916-021-01908-7

After the ban is lifted, the article will be available here:
https: //BMC Medicine.Vital center.Com /Articles /10.1186 /s12916-021-01908-7

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