Here’s another reason for young women to get their bad eating habits under control: Kids born to obese mothers are likely to die earlier than those born to normal-weight mothers, a new Scottish study suggests. In the United States and Europe, about two-thirds of women of reproductive age are overweight and more than one-third are obese, according to the study.
Previous research has suggested that obesity during pregnancy may boost the risk of high blood pressure and high blood sugar, which are linked to cardiovascular disease, in their offspring. The findings of the new study are even more ominous.
“We need to think about targeting children of obese mothers for lifestyle interventions to maintain a healthy weight,” said study author Rebecca Reynolds, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Edinburgh. But the findings aren’t conclusive, and it could be that the mothers’ weight has nothing to do with the life spans of their children. It’s possible, for example, that families with poor diets produce heavier moms and sicker kids.
Also, even if the link is confirmed, it’s not clear if these offspring can alter their extra risk of dying earlier, the researchers added. Earlier this year, a committee of the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists said all overweight or obese women should be offered nutrition counseling and be encouraged to follow an exercise program. But the results of the new study suggest that weight-loss interventions should begin before pregnancy, according to Pam Factor-Litvak, author of an accompanying journal editorial.