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Sunday, 31 July 2005 09:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Lifetime of obesity while in the womb
Researchers at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, claim that mothers who do not eat properly at crucial stages during pregnancy cause their children to become obese in later life.

The researchers believe that the dietary habits of pregnant women can programme their unborn babies so they have larger appetites in adulthood.

The scientists say that by being under or over-nourished, expectant mothers upset the levels of hormones in their body which are responsible for controlling hunger. They are now investigating imbalance in the hunger hormones of expectant mothers and their impact on the baby's ability to regulate their own appetite.

Dr Clare Adam, a senior researcher at the Rowett Institute, said children whose appetite regulation was faulty often became obese in later life.

"There is growing evidence to suggest that people can have a predisposition to obesity from development in prenatal pregnancy”.

"The long-term effects are very interesting as we believe what happens before birth can affect adult metabolic health.

"The foetus can't control its appetite as its nutrition comes through the placenta from the mother even though it has a full control pathway in place. This could be getting over-sensitised or desensitised by hormones coming from the mother”.

Dr Adam and her colleagues are now investigating the mechanisms that cause the appetite control system in babies' brains to malfunction in this way.


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