Moms’ Ultra-Processed Food Consumption Increases the Risk of Childhood Obesity

According to a recent study, mothers who eat foods with a high level of processing when they are expecting may increase the likelihood that their children would grow up to be obese or overweight.

According to research by Andrew T. Chan, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues, 12.4% of children in the 19,958 mother-child pairs studied became obese or overweight. Of those children, those whose mothers consumed the most ultra-processed foods (12.1 servings/day) had a 26% higher risk of becoming obese or overweight.

The BMJ journal posted the findings online.

The study’s authors highlight that it may be advantageous to limit ultra-processed foods throughout the reproductive years in order to lower the risk of childhood obesity. Modern Western diets commonly contain ultra-processed foods, such as packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy beverages, and sugary cereals, which have been related to a rise in adult weight.

The researchers point out that there is conflicting evidence regarding the link between parents’ consumption of highly processed foods and their kids’ weight across generations.

Does Ultra-Processed Food Make Children Obese While Pregnant?

Researchers in this study examined whether consuming highly processed foods during pregnancy and when raising children increased the risk of children and teenagers being overweight or obese.

The study team used information gathered from two sizable investigations to analyse 14,553 moms and their 19,958 children. 45% of the children in the cohort were boys. The kids ranged in age from 7 to 17 years old.

The eating of highly processed meals by mothers while raising their children has been connected to childhood obesity or overweight.

“We are aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy for both the mother’s and the unborn child’s wellbeing. Therefore, it does present a chance for people to consider what they can do to really optimise their health, and it turns into a time when people are perhaps thinking a little bit more about their health, more receptive to new dietary advice, and also more driven to bring about change, according to Chan.

According to Chan, it’s crucial for women to think about their diet. Women must consider “the kinds of foods they are eating and, if possible, try to avoid ultra-processed foods that have very refined ingredients and a lot of additives and preservatives, because they really have a higher content of those dietary factors that we think lead to overweight and obesity,” he advises.

According to Chan, physical activity is crucial throughout the reproductive years and during pregnancy, and people should try to continue doing so after giving birth.

It’s I The results might only apply to a small number of mother-child pairs because they were based on self-reported questionnaires and some mother-child couples dropped out of the research during follow-up. The majority of the moms shared similar social and economic circumstances, personal and family educational histories, and were predominantly white, which restricts how this study can be applied to other racial or ethnic groups, the researchers stated.

“Staying healthy isn’t something you should really start doing in middle age or late adulthood, it is really something that should be promoted at a young age, and certainly during young adulthood, because it has an impact on your long-term health, but also because it may have an impact on your family’s health,” Chan says.

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