Diet, sleep and childhood obesity

baby

The relationship between sleeping and obesity is even closer than thought as new research published online in the FASEB Journal study shows that what your mother ate when she was pregnant may make you obese by altering the function of genes that regulate sleep. In the report, pregnant primate females which were given a high-fat diet ultimately altered the function of fetal genes that regulate circadian rhythm, appetite and food intake in their offspring’s early development. Interestingly, the offspring also showed signs of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

“It is our hope that our studies will continue to guide research aimed at understanding the pivotal role that maternal health pays in guiding the health of the next generation,” said Kjersti Aagaard-Tillery, MD, PhD, one of the report researchers involved in the work from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “We are enthusiastic that our research will give hope that even small changes, such as improving one’s diet in pregnancy and during breastfeeding, will translate into a lower chance for obesity in our next generation.”

Scientists found that improving the diet, either directly during pregnancy or during breastfeeding, helps to partially restore the circadian rhythms back to normal which may lessen the risk of childhood obesity and the diseases related to it. So early intervention would be key and maternal education regarding diet during those nine months and afterward if breastfeeding is particularly key.

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, ScienceDaily


 
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