- As per the study, rates of childhood obesity are increasing worldwide
- Children who are obese are more likely to be obese adults: Study
- The results of the study were published in International Journal of Obesity
London: The findings of new research led by the University of Southampton show that supporting women to eat a healthy diet pre-pregnancy could reduce the risk of obesity for their children. The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Rates of childhood obesity are increasing worldwide. In the UK, nearly a quarter of under-fives are overweight or obese. This increases to more than a third by the time children start secondary school.
Children who are obese are more likely to be obese adults, with long-term consequences for their health. Unhealthy diets are an important factor that contributes to this.
New research, led by Dr Sarah Crozier, Associate Professor of Statistical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, has found children aged eight or nine were more likely to be obese if their mother had a poor diet during – and before – pregnancy. The research identifies these as critical times when initiatives to reduce childhood obesity may be more effective.
The researchers analysed data on the diets of 2,963 mother-child pairs who were part of the UK Southampton Women’s Survey – a long-running study that tracks the health of mothers and their children. Women joined it before pregnancy when they were first considering having a baby.
As part of the survey, the women were interviewed and their answers were used to fill in questionnaires on their diet and that of their child. The researchers asked about the mother’s diet before they became pregnant and when they were 11 and 34 weeks pregnant. They also asked about what the child ate at six months, one year, three years, six to seven years, and eight to nine years of age.
The dietary information collected was used to give each mother-child pair a combined diet quality score. They used these scores to divide them into five groups: poor, poor-medium, medium, medium-better and best.
Mothers who were younger had attained fewer academic qualifications, smoked and had a higher body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy tended to be in a worse diet group with their child.
When the children were eight to nine years old, the researchers assessed the amount of fat tissue in their bodies using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. They also calculated the child’s BMI, adjusting this to account for their age and sex.
The results showed that if a mother-child pair was in a lower diet quality group, this was associated with a child having a higher DXA percentage body fat and BMI at age eight or nine.
Dr Crozier, Associate Professor of Statistical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, said:
Childhood obesity is a significant and growing issue in the UK, causing long-lasting health problems that extend well into adulthood. This research shows the importance of intervening at the earliest possible stage in a child’s life, in pregnancy or even before conception, to enable us to tackle it.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.