Pregnant mom's diet causes kids obesity
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:19:28 GMT
Expecting mother's diet may affect the DNA of the unborn and place him/her at an increased risk of developing obesity later on in life.
A team of researchers from Australia, Singapore and the UK reported certain changes in the DNA of the children born to mothers who had low carbohydrate diets during pregnancy, adding that these changes lower the risk of developing diabetes in the newborn.
The study showed that the diet of pregnant mothers would not alter and mutate genes but would contribute to epicentric changes in the DNA that affect cellular material sitting on the top of genes and modify their expression.
The changes were noticed in the function and activity of RXRA gene, which is involved in the process of fat in cells.
According to the findings, children with more DNA changes are more likely to become obese, regardless of their weight at the time of birth or their mother's weight.
Maternal diet during the first trimester of pregnancy has the most influence on the kid's obesity risk, the researchers said.
"We have shown for the first time that susceptibility to obesity cannot simply be attributed to the combination of our genes and our lifestyle, but can be triggered by influences on a baby's development in the womb, including what the mother ate," said lead author Professor Keith Godfrey from Southampton University.
According to the report to be published in Diabetes, epigenetic changes could predict 25 percent of the variation in obesity rates at six or nine years.
"This study indicates that measures to prevent childhood obesity should be targeted on improving a mother's nutrition and her baby's development in the womb," Godfrey concluded.