Can childhood obesity be prevented before conception?

March 29, 2017, Cleveland Clinic

A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and MetroHealth System researcher, along with Cleveland Clinic's director of metabolic research, have received federal funding to determine if childhood obesity can be prevented before women become pregnant.

The first-ever Cleveland-based study will explore whether an exercise and nutrition program designed for mothers before they conceive will result in less .

"Until now, similar intervention programs, which have only had limited success, were introduced after women became pregnant," said co-principal investigator Patrick M. Catalano, MD, professor of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve and director of Reproductive Health and Clinical Research at MetroHealth. "To our knowledge, this is the first study that seeks to prevent childhood before a planned pregnancy. Our hypothesis is that interventions after women become pregnant are too late to see the kinds of meaningful improvements in child and maternal health everyone is looking for."

Through nutrition, exercise, and education, the Lifestyle Intervention in Preparation for Pregnancy program (LIPP) will seek to reduce body fat and improve glucose and lipid metabolism in overweight and mildly obese women who plan on becoming pregnant, with an aim of ultimately reducing obesity and obesity-related health problems in women and their children.

The study comes at a time when a growing number of experts believe that such adult-onset chronic conditions as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity may, at least in part, be a result of poor in utero nutrition resulting from maternal consumption of high-sugar, high-fat foods and little or no exercise before and during pregnancy.

"LIPP stands in dramatic contrast to the patients' usual care, which for the vast majority is no at all," said co-principal investigator, John Kirwan, Ph.D., director of the Metabolic Translational Research Center at Cleveland Clinic and Professor of Nutrition and of Physiology at Case Western Reserve University.

LIPP will be based in Cleveland neighborhoods and include investigators from a number of disciplines: obstetrics, internal medicine, nutrition, molecular biology, and exercise physiology. Participating institutions are Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth, and Cleveland Clinic.

Under a five-year, $5.5M grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, 200 women will be randomly assigned to two groups: usual care and the LIPP intervention. LIPP participants will be sub-divided into classes of 8-10 and receive intensive education, an exercise program, and support-group programming before and during pregnancy.

The research team will seek funds to continue to follow the women and their children after the formal study is completed in order to ensure long-term adherence to a healthy lifestyle.

"We anticipate that, if successful, this project will serve as the proof-of-principle that childhood obesity can indeed be prevented - not simply treated after the fact," said Dr. Catalano. Longer term plans include a similar proposal on a larger scale, possibly supported by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on a county-wide level.

Dr. Catalano was one of the first investigators to show that overweight and obese are at greater risk of having babies who become obese and suffer metabolic complications in later life.

Explore further: Limiting gestational weight gain did not improve pregnancy complications

Related Stories

Limiting gestational weight gain did not improve pregnancy complications

January 23, 2017
In a study to be presented Thursday, Jan. 26, in the oral plenary session, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, researchers with Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, ...

Exercise cuts gestational diabetes in obese pregnant women

July 26, 2016
Exercise alone can reduce the number of obese, pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes, a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has shown.

Pre-pregnancy obesity increases odds of having overweight children

April 25, 2016
A new Kaiser Permanente study, published in Pediatric Obesity, found that pre-pregnancy obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of the child becoming overweight at age 2. The ...

Gestational diabetes, obesity impact pregnancy outcomes

March 2, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) who are obese have significantly higher odds of adverse pregnancy outcomes, according to findings from the multinational Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome ...

Women born to obese mothers much more likely to be obese as adults

June 9, 2016
Overweight mothers were nearly three times more likely than normal-weight mothers to have a daughter who would become obese as an adult, a large study has found.

When mom gains too much weight during pregnancy, her child is more likely to be obese

May 6, 2015
A new study conducted in collaboration between The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Harokopio University has found that when an expecting mother gains more weight than recommended, does not exercise or ...

Recommended for you

Evening hours may pose higher risk for overeating, especially when under stress, study finds

January 16, 2018
Experiments with a small group of overweight men and women have added to evidence that "hunger hormone" levels rise and "satiety (or fullness) hormone" levels decrease in the evening. The findings also suggest that stress ...

Bariatric surgery prolongs lifespan in obese

January 16, 2018
Obese, middle-age men and women who had bariatric surgery have half the death rate of those who had traditional medical treatment over a 10-year period, reports a study that answers questions about the long-term risk of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to overweight and obesity in children, adults: Analysis of new studies

December 23, 2017
A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) - concludes that SSB consumption is associated with ...

As income rises, women get slimmer—but not men

December 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—A comprehensive survey on the widening American waistline finds that as paychecks get bigger, women's average weight tends to drop.

Policy and early intervention can curb obesity rates

December 18, 2017
More information and emphasis on dietary lifestyle changes that prevent obesity, and its comorbidities, have not reduced the rise in obesity in U.S. adults and adolescents, according to a recent study in the New England Journal ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 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.