Animal Study May Explain Low Birth Weight-Obesity
THURSDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Newborns with a low birth
weight due to their mother's poor nutrition during pregnancy may be
"programmed" to eat more, research in animals suggests.
The finding may help explain the connection between low birth
weight and obesity later in life, and also highlights the
importance of good nutrition for pregnant women, according to
researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed).
Their work with laboratory animals found that newborns with low
birth weight had fewer neurons in the area of the brain that
controls food intake than those with a normal birth weight.
The researchers noted that previous studies have shown that
babies that have a low birth weight and then experience an
accelerated "catch-up" growth are at increased risk for health
problems later in life, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2
diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
The study is published in the March 10 issue of the journal
"This study demonstrates the importance of maternal nutrition and health in reducing obesity," co-author Dr. Mina Desai said in an LA BioMed news release. "Obesity and its related diseases are the leading cause of death in our society, yet we have few effective strategies for prevention or treatment. These studies suggest maternal nutrition could play a critical role in preventing obesity and related disease."
In the United States, more than 60 percent of adults are
overweight and more than 20 percent are obese, and about 17 percent
of children and teens aged 2 to 19 are obese, according to
background information in the news release.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers
nutrition during pregnancy.
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