Friday, April 22, 2011

Binging Counter-Indicated Not Even, but Especially in Pregnancy: Excessive Gestational Weight Gain Associated With Higher Body Fat in Infants

A recent study conducted by a group of researchers from New York (Hull. 2011) found that excessive gestational weight gain in already overweight women had detrimental consequences on the body composition of their offspring:
[I]nfants from obese mothers had greater percent fat (%fat) and FM than offspring from normal and overweight mothers. Within the excessive group, infants from normal mothers had less %fat and FM than infants from overweight and obese mothers.
This is alarming news, especially if one takes into consideration the results of Conan et al. from Harvard (Conan. 2010) who found that "birth weight [and I would suppose body fat even more so] is significantly associated with incident AF [arterial fibration]" in later life.
Figure 1: Infant body fat [%] in formerly normal, overweight and obese women with either appropriate of excessive gestational weight gain

These results should remind mothers-to-be that the good old saying "you are what you eat" is and will be true not only for themselves, but for their children and maybe even their grand children, as well. Furthermore, following a healthy pregnancy diet and throwing overboard old over- as well as undereating (many women are on a life-long calorie restriction and begin binging when they are pregnant and finally "allowed" to) habits will give both your children, as well as yourself a headstart into a "new" life. Consider that before you dip the next potato chip into a pot of sugar-loaden peanut butter.

On a side note: If you have a closer look at the data in figure 1, you will notice that gestational overeating is most detrimental for the children of mothers who are "only" overweight. While this would of course warrant further investigations, I would suspect that this is the group to which most of the the aforementioned life-long-dieters belong. Many of these women literally switch their calorie intake from 0 to 1000 and "jojo" back up far beyond any healthy settling point - with all the corresponding ill effects on their as well as on the health of their unborn children.