Washington: The pregnancy adage “you are eating for two” can really carry too much weight, when women see this as a green light to overeat. Now, a recent study has found that an overfed fetus may become an overweight adolescent.
The study suggests that higher levels of blood markers in the umbilical cord indicate that the baby has more fat and may continue having more fat into late childhood and adolescence.
The cord blood markers leptin and adiponectin indicate the degree of fat in the child at birth, but the relationships between these markers and the offspring’s risk of obesity in later life is not clear.
Lead author Joy Simpson from the University of Glasgow said that birthweight was positively associated with fat mass, waist circumference and body mass index at age 9 and 17.
She added, “Fetal overnutrition may facilitate fetal growth and fat accretion, as determined by cord leptin and birthweight, and may program greater adiposity in the child that extends into childhood and adolescence.”
To examine the association of cord-blood leptin, adiponectin and birthweight with childhood and adolescent fat, Simpson and her colleagues measured blood taken from the umbilical cord at birth in 5,011 mothers and children who were part of an existing study in the United Kingdom.
“This work highlights the importance of optimizing maternal health before and during pregnancy to improve offspring health and limit the translation of greater adiposity onto future generations,” Simpson advised.
The results are presented at ENDO 2016, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston. (ANI)