Children of new mothers with a high-fat diet may show increased signs of obesity

Wed, 21 Jul 2010
Research into nursing mothers has revealed that new mothers who are consuming a high-fat diet could have a negative impact on the future health of their children, as compared with those who have a high-fat diet consumption during pregnancy .

The animal study, conducted at Johns Hopkins University in the US, found that a high-fat feeding by nursing mothers may be more critical to the later development of both obesity and diabetes in their children than a high-fat diet during pregnancy. Bo Sun, lead author of the research, said "To help prevent obesity and metabolic problems in their offspring, it may be most important for mothers to avoid consuming too much fat in their diet while nursing."

The study was undertaken through cross-fostering, a method use to determine whether prenatal or postnatal exposure to a maternal high-fat diet has a bigger influence on the development of obesity and diabetes in the offspring, with rats being fed either a low-fat or high-fat diet during pregnancy.

Pups born to mothers that had either diet were fostered over to different mother rats that ate the same or opposite diet during the nursing period. It was found that pups nursed by mothers who consumed a high-fat diet took on more body weight and were obese when weaned a few weeks later, even if their biological mother ate a low-fat diet during pregnancy.

Another worrying result was that pups nursed by foster mothers on a high-fat diet, as well as being obese, showed impaired tolerance to glucose, which is an early indicator of diabetes.
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