Pre-pregnancy diet affects the health of future offspring

Poor maternal diet before conception can result in offspring with reduced birth weights and increased risk of developing type II diabetes and obesity.

This work, which is being presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow on Saturday the 2nd of July, used an animal model to illustrate the importance of maternal diet even before pregnancy begins.

During the study mice that were fed a for ten weeks before conception (but had a normal diet during pregnancy) gave birth to offspring that had lower birth weights, showed catch-up growth after weaning and increased .

These effects combined can lead to problems later in life. MSc researcher, Ms Anete Dudele, from the University of Aarhus, explains: " and catch-up growth is associated with enhanced insulin-sensitivity in young adults, this then deteriorates into and with increased age. There is also evidence that male offspring are more likely to develop obesity."

Humans and mice respond in the same way to poor diet during pregnancy; their offspring show low birth weights and increased risk of obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. "If humans respond in the same way as mice to pre-conception diet as well then women should not only consider what they eat during pregnancy but also before pregnancy if they want to reduce the risk of their future children acquiring lifestyle diseases," says Ms. Dudele.

Cardiovascular disease is often associated with obesity and type II diabetes and future research by the team will determine whether offspring born to mothers who had poor pre-conception diets are predisposed to these types of problems as well.

Provided by Society for Experimental Biology

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Eating junk while pregnant can harm your baby

Jul 01, 2008

We all know that smoking and drinking when pregnant can harm the baby, but new research published in The Journal of Physiology suggests that poor diet may also cause long-lasting, irreversible damage in offspring from heart ...

Pregnant mothers' diet linked to baby's obesity

Apr 04, 2008

Pregnant and lactating rats fed on a diet of hydrogenated fat during pregnancy and lactation had babies who were fatter than rats fed a normal diet, according to research published in Lipids in Health and Disease. The un ...

Age at puberty linked to mother's prenatal diet

Jun 16, 2008

A high-fat diet during pregnancy and nursing may lead to the child having an early onset of puberty and subsequent adulthood obesity, according to a new animal study. The results were presented Monday, June 16, at The Endocrine ...

Maternal diet and genes interact to affect heart development

Jul 06, 2010

A pregnant mother's diet may be able to interact with the genes her unborn child inherits and influence the type or severity of birth defect according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation ...

Recommended for you

With kids in school, parents can work out

20 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Back-to-school time provides an opportunity for parents to develop an exercise plan that fits into the family schedules, an expert suggests.

Obama offers new accommodations on birth control

Aug 22, 2014

The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

Aug 22, 2014

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University ...

User comments