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Home / My health / Kid's Health / Dieting during pregnancy may cause obesity in babies

Dieting during pregnancy may cause obesity in babies

Do you plan to diet in the early stages of pregnancy or at the time of conception? If your answer is ‘Yes’, read on to find out more about the damage you can cause to your child’s future health. A recent study reveals that dieting practiced by expectant mothers or those planning to conceive may be the cause of  lifetime obesity or type-2 diabetes in babies.

Anne White, Ph.D, Study Author from Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, UK stated that the study by her team may throw more light on understanding why twins have greater chances of developing diabetes.

The study could also clarify the relation between dieting during conceiving to chances of one’s child becoming obese later in life. The study team led by White conducted tests on sheep to investigate twin pregnancies and effects that alterations in nutrition around the time of conception or early pregnancy could have.

The team examined the brain tissues of the fetus before birth and found certain changes in the genes controlling food intake and glucose levels. This could be the cause for obesity or diabetes. The findings are rather unique since the differences in the genes of the fetus were not inherited changes in the structure of the DNA.

These were epigenetic changes with alterations in the structure of the DNA and the associated proteins and hoistones which could affect the manner in which the genes would behave in the future.

Gerald Weissmann, M.D, Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal stated that this study clearly showed that expectant mothers would have to ‘walk a fine line when it came to dieting and nutrition’. ‘Epigenetics’ or the ‘new-genetics’ which are basically inherited DNA and the histones in which they are wrapped are susceptible to both bingeing and dieting by expectant mothers.

Hence, it is true when stated that “we are what our mothers ate”. Caution on ‘what’ and ‘how much’ an expectant mother eats can shape her child’s health in the future.

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