A new study suggests that overweight mothers could give birth to children prone to developmental delays. At the same time, the findings suggest that obese fathers also may be at fault for potential issues the children born to an obese couple will face later in life. The study has been published online for the first time on July 1st, 2014 in the Journal of Pediatrics. However, a team of researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development pursued the findings and came up with a new set of discoveries.
Scientists estimate that one in five women residing in the U.S. is obese. The health risks excessive weight pose to an obese pregnant woman, however, may also play a part in the future development of her child, according to the study. While the healthy body mass index is anywhere in between 18.5 and 24.9, one in five obese mothers registers a BMI of 30 or even higher.
What is Different from the Original Findings
Most studies in the matter focused primarily on obese mothers, while overweight fathers were overlooked, even though as much as 20 to 30 percent of the U.S. adult population, both male and female, is obese. Dr. Edwina Yeung, the lead researcher pointed out that the new findings link both obese mothers as well as fathers to the faulty development of their offspring, as opposed to previously conducted research.
Over the course of approximately two years, between 2008 and 2010, the researchers pulled and later analyzed data from nearly 5,000 children with ages starting from four months old to three years old. As it turned out, the researchers found specific effect on children, depending on which parent was overweight.
When compared to children born to normal or even underweight mother, the researchers discovered that kids born to obese mothers had difficulties using their small muscles such as those in their hands or fingers. On the other hand, parental obesity was linked to an increased risk of failing at personal-social activities like undressing themselves, feeding themselves, or playing with other children.
At this point, however, the team of researchers was unable to understand exactly why parental obesity has such a role to play in the children’s development. Nevertheless, similar studies conducted on animals point to an inflammation which affects the fetal brain thus impacting the newborn’s further development.
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