2011-04-21

Your Mom Is Why You're Fat

Obesity is at an epidemic stage in America. It's slowly killing a huge number of people and it's costing tons of money. Consider this, an obese patient costs $443 more dollars per inpatient visit than a person at a healthy weight. In total, that costs the country billions a year. Many people and programs have considered different ways to lower the obesity rate, from championing exercise to surgical procedures. It turns out, it's not the obese we need to target, it's their moms.

What should expectant mothers avoid? The same thing everyone should
avoid: A diet high in carbohydrate (such as sugars) and high saturated
fat. What makes the goose fat also makes the gander fat.

The study, which will appear in Diabetes, found that a mother's diet while pregnant can alter her child's DNA—called epigenetic change—to make the child more susceptible to obesity. It doesn't matter whether the mother herself is skinny or fat, simply what she eats during the early stages of pregnancy. It means that we could perhaps spend money and effort more wisely by making sure pregnant women don't create obese-prone babies to start with. Surely, there are other causes for obesity, and mothers who eat badly during pregnancy might simply feed their kids crap to begin with. But anything that can alter a baby's DNA should probably be avoided if you're pregnant—and might be something you want to avoid in your daily life whether you're expecting or not.

Image from Flickr user mauricesvay

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