Obesity: 5 risk factors for children during pregnancy

Obesity: 5 risk factors for children during pregnancy
A recent British study shows that 5 behaviors in the future mother can lead to obesity for the child. The results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirm these various risk factors and their impact, especially if they are associated.

The different risk factors

Scientists have identified, with this latest study, several risk factors for childhood obesity in pregnant women:
  1. Obesity: a future mother suffering from obesity can encounter difficulties and complications during her pregnancy, also jeopardizing the health of her future child, significantly increasing the risk of obesity for the latter.
  2. Vitamin D deficiency: vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of the body, and the needs are multiplied, especially during pregnancy. A lack of vitamin D can have consequences for the health of children and pregnant women, particularly the risk of obesity.
  3. An absence or a short duration of breastfeeding: a breastfeeding period of less than one month increases the risk linked to obesity. Breast milk is specific, therefore, more adapted to the different needs of the child day after day.
  4. Smoking: Currently, more than 20% of expectant mothers smoke daily during their pregnancy. Several studies have shown that tobacco consumption during pregnancy has a detrimental effect on the child's health and promotes a particular craving for fatty and sugary foods. In addition, tobacco causes a more excellent production of fatty acids responsible for obesity.
  5. Excess weight gain: significant weight gain during pregnancy directly increases the risk of obesity.
Hence the importance of paying particular attention to your eating habits during this period.

The importance of prevention

This new research, conducted on 991 children, shows that the correlation of these factors significantly increases the risk of obesity. The findings show in particular that:
  • Children aged 4 and exposed to 4 or 5 factors are four times more likely to be obese or overweight than unexposed children. They also have a 19% higher fat mass on average.
  • Children aged 6 show a 4.65 times higher risk of being overweight or obese, with a 47% higher body fat mass.
This study recalls the importance of prevention about the risk linked to obesity, particularly from the start of pregnancy and even before conception.
Pregnancy is a critical period, especially for nutrition, with significant consequences for the child, on metabolism and weight balance throughout life.