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Obese Mothers More Likely to Deliver Overweight Children: Study

Update Date: Oct 30, 2012 08:41 AM EDT
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A new study suggests that children born to overweight mothers face a higher risk of being obese themselves. However, breastfeeding and late introduction to solid food may help reduce this risk.

The study suggests that overweight mothers and those who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to overweight babies. However, the research says that this risk can be reduced by 15 percent with breastfeeding and by delaying introduction to solid food.

According to Stephen Weng, who undertook the study led by Dr Sarah Redsell, of Nottingham University's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, there are complex and multiple influences that affect a child's development, including parents' lifestyle.

"We can speculate about how breastfeeding mitigates the risk of obesity in childhood - it could be mixed feeding, reduced calories from breast milk, parental attitudes, or a combination of things. The research shows that breastfeeding your baby compared with never breastfeeding does have a modest benefit," he said according to Mail Online.

Facts and evidence suggests that children who are overweight by age five are more likely to grow up to be obese adults, with life-threatening diseases arising out of obesity.

The findings are a result of a systematic review and analysis of data from 30 previous studies which involved 200,000 people.

The study looked into the influencing factors during the first 12 months of the babies and any potential link of those factors with childhood obesity.

The findings of the study revealed that breastfeeding and late introduction to solid food reduced the chances of the child becoming overweight.

While looking at infant birth weight, the researchers found a significant link between babies heavy at birth, and obesity in later childhood.

Also, through this study, researchers could associate rapid weight gain in the first year to obesity later on. One study also showed that children who gained weight most rapidly in the first year of their life were four times more likely to be overweight at four years of age.

Maternal smoking alone increases the risk of obesity in children by 47.5 percent. But this could be because smoking indicates many other lifestyle habits as well, says Dr. Weng, according to the report.

The study was published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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