Researchers at Laval University in Quebec City determined that a mother’s obesity during pregnancy can affect her child’s health later on in life. When the child is older, they have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
The study involved 20 women who underwent gastric bypass surgery after having children. The researchers, led by Marie-Claude Vohl of Laval’s Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, examined the genes of the children who were born before the surgery, along with their brothers and sisters, who were born after the surgery.
The research team determined that children born to women who underwent gastric bypass surgery were less likely to be obese. The children were born with less body fat, better blood pressure, and healthier blood sugar levels than children who were born before their mothers underwent the surgery.
“What we can see here is the impact of obesity not only on the mother, but the impact of obesity on the next generation,” says Vohl.
The new research expands on previous conclusions that highlight the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Women who plan to get pregnant should set a goal of maintaining a healthy body weight before, during, and after the pregnancy. A healthy mother helps ensure their children will reduce the likelihood of developing heart problems later on in life.