Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pregnancy weight, obese daughters linked

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found an average-height mother who weighed 150 pounds before pregnancy was twice as likely to have a daughter who was obese at age 18 as a mother who weighed 125 pounds before pregnancy.

Weight gain during pregnancy mattered too -- both too little and too much weight gain increased a daughter's risk of becoming obese.

Daughters of mothers gaining more than 40 pounds while pregnant were almost twice as likely to be obese at age 18 and later in life than those of mothers gaining 15-19 pounds.

Pregnancy weight gain of less than 10 pounds was associated with a one-point-five-fold increase in the odds of being obese at 18 and a one-point-three-fold increase in odds of being obese in later life.

"If we can help women reach a healthy weight before they start a family, we can make a difference for two generations," study leader Dr. Alison Stuebe of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's School of Medicine said in statement. "Women should aim for a healthy weight before they get pregnant, and then gain a moderate amount."

The study was based on mothers' recalled weights and weight gain for more than 24,000 mother-daughter pairs. The daughters -- all registered nurses -- were enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II since 1989.

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