To improve nutrition for women of childbearing age and lower childhood obesity, researchers said financial and social barriers should be removed, dietary guidelines should be improved, and mothers may benefit from limiting their consumption of ultra-processed foods. Researcher Yiqing Wang made these findings from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.
New York: New Study says, regardless of other lifestyle risk factors, a mother’s consumption of ultra-processed foods appears to be linked to an increased risk of overweight or obesity in her offspring.
The study, published in The BMJ, found that compared to the group with the lowest consumption (3.4 servings/day), there was a 26% higher risk in the group with the highest maternal consumption (12.1 servings/day).
Researchers, including Yiqing Wang from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, stated that “mothers might benefit from limiting their intake of ultra-processed foods, and those dietary guidelines should be refined and social and financial barriers removed to improve nutrition for women of childbearing age and reduce childhood obesity.”
Adult weight gain is frequently linked to ultra-processed foods like packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, and sugary cereals. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II) and Growing Up Today Study (GUTS I and II) in the US were used for the study, which included information on 19,958 children born to 14,553 mothers (45% boys, aged 7–17 years at study enrollment).
The NHS II is an ongoing study that monitors the lifestyles and health of 116,429 US female nurses between the ages of 25 and 42 in 1989. Every four years starting in 1991, participants filled out validated food frequency questionnaires to record what they ate and drank. 16,882 children (aged 8 to 15) of NHSII participants participated in the GUTS I study, which started in 1996. From 1997 to 2001, they were followed up annually and every two years. 10,918 children (between the ages of 7 and 17) of NHS II participants joined the extended GUTS II study in 2004 and were subsequently followed up in 2006, 2008, and 2011 as well as every two years after that.
Throughout an average follow-up of 4 years, 2471 (12%) children became overweight or obese. A separate analysis of 2,790 mothers and 2,925 kids who had diet data from three months before conception to delivery (per pregnancy) revealed that consumption of ultra-processed foods during this time was not significantly linked to an increased risk of overweight or obesity in the kids.