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Women’s Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Children’s Future Risk of Dying

Update Date: Nov 18, 2014 12:01 PM EST

A mother's weight prior to pregnancy can affect her child's future risk of dying, a new study reported. According to the researchers, people who have mothers that were overweight or obese before conception have an increased risk of death from heart attack or stroke.

"Excess weight among young women of childbearing age has important implications not only for their own health, but for that of their children as well," lead author of the study, Michael Mendelson, M.D., S.M., a research fellow at the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University and the Boston Children's Hospital, said reported in the press release.

For this study, the team examined data on 879 participants who were enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort between 1971 and 2012. 52 percent of the sample was female and the average age at the start of the study was 32.

The cohort collected data on the women's pre-pregnancy weight. Around 10 percent of the women were categorized as overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25. Throughout the study, there were 193 cardiovascular events, 28 deaths and 138 deaths that occurred in the women's offspring.

The team compared the women's weight and their offspring's risk of death and found that children born to heavier women were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or die from a cardiovascular event, such as coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. The risk was about 90 percent higher than the risk calculated for children whose mothers were not overweight or obese prior to conception.

The researchers concluded that as a preventative measure, women of childbearing age should maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if they are overweight/obese.

The study's findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.

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