Maternal pregnancy weight gain linked to children's weight

June 9, 2008 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Maternal pregnancy weight gain linked to children's weight

Children of mothers who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight by age seven, say researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In this new study, 10,226 pregnant women volunteered information about their pre-pregnancy weight, age and race. At the time of delivery, the weight of the mother and her child were measured. At age seven, the children were weighed again to determine the effect of their mothers' pregnancy weight gain on their current weight.

Children of mothers who gained more than the recommended amount during pregnancy were 48 percent more likely to be overweight than children of mothers who stayed within the recommended range for pregnancy weight gain.

Pregnant women who gained the recommended amount - or less - had children who were at low risk of being overweight.

The recommended weight gain for pregnant  women who were at a normal pre-pregnancy weight is 20 to 35 pounds.  According to health researchers, almost half of all pregnant women gain too much weight during pregnancy and this may lead to overweight children.

In 2004, an estimated 500,000 Canadian children were obese.

For nutrition strategies to control weight gain during pregnancy, check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.

This study was published in the June 9, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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