Smoking during pregnancy linked to teen obesity

April 29, 2010 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Weight Management

Smoking during pregnancy linked to teen obesity
Study findings released this week from Canadian researchers report that mothers who smoke during pregnancy may be putting their children at increased risk of becoming obese as teenagers.  

The study is the first of its kind to find a link between pre-natal cigarette exposure and teenage obesity.

Montreal researchers studied 500 people between the ages of 12 and 18.  Half of the participants had mothers who had smoked up to 11 cigarettes per day throughout their pregnancies, while the other half had mothers who were smoke-free.

While researchers didn't find any difference in body weight among young teenagers in either group, they did find a difference among older teens.  Older teens that were born to smoking mothers had 26 per cent more body fat and 33 per cent more fat in their abdomens than teenagers whose mothers didn't smoke.

Researchers are calling for more studies on the subject, but believe that cigarette smoking during pregnancy may play an important role in the fetal programming of obesity.  Smoking during pregnancy is already well known to increase a child's risk of a low birth weight, respiratory problems and sudden infant death syndrome.

The study was published in the journal Obesity.

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