August 4, 2010 — Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy may have babies with high birth weights, which could increase the child’s risk of long-term obesity, researchers report.
High birth weight is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) — a measure of height and weight — later in life. However, researchers do not know whether weight gain during pregnancy contributes to childhood obesity risk independently of genetic factors. Earlier research has shown that maternal weight is more strongly correlated with child BMI than father weight, suggesting that pregnancy, not just genetics, may play a key role in child weight.
New York University researchers at Boston and Columbia Children’s Hospital looked at multiple singleton pregnancies from the same mother to assess the effect of maternal weight gain and rule out genetic factors for weight gain.
The authors found a consistent link between weight gain during pregnancy. Pregnancy and bigger babies. They reported their findings in the August 5 issue of The Lancet:
- For every kilogram (1 kilo = 2.2 pounds) that the mother gained, The baby’s birth weight increased by 7.35 grams (0.25 ounces).
- Infants born to women who gained 8 to 10 kg (17.5 to 22 lbs) and who gained more than 24 kg (52.5 lbs during pregnancy) weighed about 150 g at birth (5.3 lbs) ounce).
- Mothers who gained more than 24 kg during pregnancy delivered 4,000 g (8 lb 13 oz) or more, while women only gained 8 to 10 kg.
The findings are based on Michigan state birth registration data and wholesale cheap sweatshirts. The researchers analyzed information on 513,501 women and their 1,164,750 children born between January 1989 and December 2003. Pregnancy data for women less than 37 or more than 41 weeks, women with diabetes, infants with a birth weight of less than 500 grams or more than 7,000 grams, and anyone missing pregnancy weight gain were excluded from the study. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled, according to the CDC. Between 1980 and 2008, the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 jumped from 6.5% to 19.6%; for those aged 12 to 19, these figures increased from 5% to 18.1%, respectively.
Obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even arthritis. There is growing concern about the fetal origin of diseases that occur later in life, including obesity. The authors suggest that pregnant women may benefit from weight management and prevention strategies to help reduce the risk of weight gain in their children.
“Because high birth weight predicts later BMI, these findings suggest that excess weight gain during pregnancy may increase the long-term risk of obesity-related disorders in offspring,” the authors write. “High birth weight may also increase the risk of other diseases later in life, including asthma, allergies, and cancer.”
In an accompanying editorial, Neal Halfon and Michael C. Lu’s UCLA community wrote: “While a better understanding of the effects of gestational weight gain on fetal development and neonatal metabolic function is important, there is an urgent need for research into how to help women of reproductive age achieve and maintain pre- and during pregnancy. Healthy weight. With increasing focus on preconception health, there is an opportunity to develop effective interventions to help women conceive at a healthier weight. More effective population-based strategies are needed to generate healthier lifelong weight trajectories with disruption The intergenerational cycle of excess weight gain.”