In a study that followed more than 2,200 obese women during pregnancy, scientists found that some simple interventions can help prevent high birth weights in newborns. Previous research has shown that infants with a high birth weight have a greater risk of becoming obese as children or adults.
For the study, one half of the pregnant women were provided with advice and support to change their eating habits, which included increasing the number of servings per day of fruits and vegetables, while reducing their intake of foods that were high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Women were also encouraged to increase their physical activity, primarily through increasing their walking and incidental activity level.
Infants born to women who received lifestyle advice were 18% less likely to have a high birth weight compared to infants born to women who received standard care. As obesity in children as well as in adults is becoming one of the largest health problems, reducing high infant birth weights is an important strategy to tackle obesity.
Source: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2014.
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