First signs of heart disease seen in newborns of overweight, obese mums

February 27, 2013

The walls of the body's major artery—the aorta—are already thickened in babies born to mums who are overweight or obese, finds a small study published online in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood.

Importantly, this arterial thickening, which is a sign of heart disease, is independent of the child's weight at birth - a known risk factor for later heart disease and stroke.

And it may explain how overweight/obese mums could boost their children's subsequent , suggest the authors, who point out that more than half of women of childbearing age in developed countries are overweight or obese.

Twenty three women, whose average age was 35, were included in the study when they were 16 weeks pregnant.

A (BMI) of more than 25 kg/m2 was defined as overweight or obese, and this ranged from 17 to 42 kg/m2 among the women.

Ten of the babies born were boys, and birthweights ranged from 1850g to 4310g.

The , which is the section of the artery extending down to the belly, was scanned in each newborn within seven days of birth to find out the thickness of the two innermost walls - the intima and media.

Intima-media thickness ranged from 0.65mm to 0.97mm, and was associated with the mother's weight. The higher a mum's weight, the greater was the baby's intima-media thickness, irrespective of how much the baby weighed at birth.

The difference in intima-media thickness between babies of overweight and normal weight mums was 0.06mm.

"The earliest physical signs of atherosclerosis are present in the abdominal aorta, and aortic intima-media thickness is considered the best non-invasive measure of of the in children," write the authors.

And this may explain how a mum being overweight might affect her child's subsequent risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, they conclude.

Explore further: Overweight mothers who smoke while pregnant can damage baby's heart

More information: Maternal adiposity and newborn vascular health, Online First, doi 10.1136/archdischild-2012-303566

Related Stories

Overweight mothers who smoke while pregnant can damage baby's heart

January 30, 2012
Mums-to-be who are both overweight and smoke during their pregnancy risk damaging their baby's developing heart, finds research published online in Heart.

Caesarean section delivery may double risk of childhood obesity

May 23, 2012
Caesarean section delivery may double the risk of subsequent childhood obesity, finds research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Mother's BMI linked to fatter babies

August 19, 2011
Babies of mothers with a higher pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) are fatter and have more fat in their liver, a study published in September's issue of the journal Pediatric Research has found. The researchers from Imperial ...

Overweight and smoking during pregnancy boost risk of overweight kids

October 30, 2012
Mums who carry too much weight and/or who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of having overweight kids, indicates a systematic analysis of the available evidence published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Recommended for you

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

July 19, 2017
An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

July 18, 2017
The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, ...

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

July 18, 2017
Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared ...

Study finds children carry implicit bias towards peers who are overweight

June 23, 2017
Even children as young as 9 years old can carry a prejudice against their peers who are overweight, according to a new study led by Duke Health researchers. They might not even realize they feel this way.

Mother's obesity boosts risk for major birth defects: study

June 15, 2017
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published on Thursday.

New study finds more than 2 billion people overweight or obese

June 12, 2017
Globally, more than 2 billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions, according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.