Unhealthy Nutrition During Pregnancy Risks Child's Health
Poor, junk food diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as lack of nutrition during this time leads to numerous long-term health problems for child.
A joint team of researchers from Royal Veterinary College and London's Wellcome Trust examined pregnant rats and offspring to clarify the link between mother's nutrition and child's health. Researchers divided rats into two groups: one given a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the other group was given a junk food diet with donuts, muffins, cookies, chips, and sweets.
Offsprings of rats on unhealthy diet were found to have higher higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which increases the risk for heart disease later in life. They were also found to have higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which is the main cause for developing type 2 diabetes. This issue surprisingly appeared to be more serious in female rats than males. However, the worst health complication found in these baby rats was that their major organs were surrounded with unhealthy fat.
The study showed, that offsprings of mothers on unhealthy diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding tended to eat the same junk food as their mothers did. Even when taken away from unhealthy food, they were still more inclined to leave unhealthy life than those whose mothers were on a healthy diet. This means that mother's nutrition affects child's health for a long-term period, leading to lifetime health conditions.
Although the research was conducted on rats, scientists confirm that rats and humans are very similar in biological system, and they assure that study results can be applied to humans as well.
Dr Stephanie Bayol, one of researchers involved in the study, said: "It seems that a mother's diet whilst pregnant and breastfeeding is very important for the long-term health of her child. We always say: 'You are what you eat', but in fact it may also be true that 'you are what your mother ate.'"
This study is among other studies reminding about healthy lifestyle importance during pregnancy and breastfeeding filled with nutritious food and diet. There are many other studies linking unhealthy pregnancy to unhealthy children and carrying a message for all expectant mothers about taking care about health during pregnancy to have healthy children.