Excess Pregnancy Weight, Overweight Kids?
(HealthDay News) -- Kids whose moms were overweight during pregnancy have increased odds of being overweight themselves -- but the connection may be largely genetic, a new study suggests.
The implication, researchers said, is that overweight women are unlikely to influence their kids’ future weight by shedding pounds before pregnancy.
But they also stressed that more research is needed to confirm their findings.
And no one is suggesting that a woman’s weight before and during pregnancy is unimportant.
There are plenty of reasons to go into pregnancy at the healthiest weight possible, said Rebecca Richmond, the lead researcher on the study.
A high body mass index (BMI) raises the risk of pregnancy complications such pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, explained Richmond, a senior research associate at the University of Bristol in England.
Plus, she said, those extra pounds boost the odds of having an abnormally large newborn -- another risk factor for complications.
The new study, being published online Jan. 24 in PLOS Medicine, tried to address a question raised by past research: Do pregnancy pounds, in and of themselves, affect a child’s weight in the long run?
Pregnancy weight does affect birth size, Richmond said. But, she added, birth weight is not “deterministic,” and bigger newborns are not necessarily going to become bigger kids.
Richmond and her colleagues focused on over 6,000 mother-child pairs who were taking part in two long-term health studies. The kids’ body mass index (BMI) was recorded throughout childhood and adolescence. BMI is a measure that roughly estimates body fat, using weight and height, and in children, age and sex. In general, the higher someone’s BMI, the more body fat they have.
The researchers found there was a correlation between moms’ pre-pregnancy BMI and kids’ BMI across the age span.
But it seemed to be mostly explained by genes.
Using blood samples from mothers and their children, the researchers gave each pair a “genetic risk score.” That was based on 32 gene variants that have been strongly linked to BMI in past studies.
In the end, Richmond’s team found, the genetic risk score largely accounted for the higher BMI among kids of overweight moms.
However, the findings shouldn’t be considered the final word, said Dr. Siobhan Dolan, an obstetrician-gynecologist and medical advisor to the nonprofit March of Dimes.
“Disentangling what’s genetic and what’s environmental is challenging,” said Dolan, who wasn’t involved in the study.
For example, she said, kids can also “in- Dear Doctor,
How do I know if I have colon cancer? Marlon
The only way to definitively know if you have colon cancer is to be evaluated for it. There are many different ways of screening for colon cancer. Colonoscopy is considered the standard because it not only can detect cancer and precancerous polyps, it can also serve as a way to biopsy the abnormal tissue for diagnosis. In some cases, the doctor can completely remove the polyps before they become cancer. You should have a discussion with your physician to see if and when you should undergo a colonoscopy.
Oftentimes, colon cancer or precancerous polyps do not produce any symptoms. In other words, there is nothing that suggests they are there. That is one of the reasons colonoscopy is so important as a screening tool. Sometimes, patients will have symptoms that could be caused by colon cancer, such as a change in bowel habits (for example, new onset of constipation or need to strain, diarrhea, and/or thinning of the caliber of stools), crampy abdominal pain, or bleeding from the anus with or without bowel movements. These symptoms should be evaluated by a physician who can determine if you need a colonoscopy.