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Unhealthy diet linked to overweight babies

Scientists have established a link between the eating habits of pregnant women and their offspring.
Mothers who eat an unhealthy diet during pregnancy are more likely to have overweight babies, according to new research.

A University of New South Wales (UNSW) study found a link between prenatal diet and childhood obesity.

The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, found that the brain control of appetite is set early on in life, therefore the eating habits of the mother are likely to be picked up by the baby during the foetal or early post-natal period.

Previous research has shown that around 30 per cent of women who become pregnant are overweight.

The study found that overweight expectant mothers are more likely to have babies with a greater percentage of body fat, who are in turn at a higher risk of developing diabetes and lipid metabolic disorders in later life.

Lead researcher professor Morris said: "Maternal obesity and overfeeding early on in life caused significant changes in the chemicals that regulate appetite, which may suggest that the babies were programmed to eat differently from those born from lean mothers.

"Other research in this field suggests that maternal food preferences during pregnancy can affect the food preferences of offspring."

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