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.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.