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As part of a typical US prenatal healthcare program, doctors will routinely tell their pregnant patients not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs while pregnant. And while all of that is excellent advice, does it go far enough?
What about food and nutrition? I’m sure many doctors discuss different food options with their patients, however, there has never been an all-out PR/media blitz to warn new mothers about the dangers of overeating and eating copious amounts of junk food while pregnant.
Should there have been?
Now, thanks to an alarming new study, we can clearly see that’s exactly what “experts” should have been focusing on with the same tenacity as they did with booze, cigarettes, and drugs.
It turns out that it’s more important than ever for mothers to maintain a healthy weight while pregnant and steer clear of fatty, high-sugar junk food. It’s important for mom – but it’s even more so for the overall life of the baby.
New researcher from Rutgers University shows that children born to obese mothers during pregnancy and nursing are more likely to eventually develop obesity themselves.
And as we all know, obesity is becoming one of the leading killers in America.
We have an obesity epidemic in this country and it’s plaguing our children as well.
The CDC says that obesity in the United States affects 14.7 million (19.7%) children.
In addition, a Harvard study reveals that roughly two out of three U.S. adults are overweight or obese (69 percent) and one out of three are obese (36 percent).
Those numbers are staggering and will doom this country very quickly. And the real kicker in all of this is that the obesity problem in America could be starting in the womb.
It’s a scary prospect because babies don’t have a fighting chance if mom is unhealthy, but on the flip side there’s hope because with proper education, more and more soon-to-be mothers can maintain good health and eating habits while pregnant.
According to the study, when a child in the womb is given “early over-nutrition” it can actually rewire their developing brain to crave more unhealthy snacks and foods.
This link between mother and child was studied via an experiment involving mice. To start, some mice were grew obese by eating unlimited high-fat food during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Meanwhile, other rodents were kept slim by eating healthier foods. Study authors discovered that while adolescent mice born to obese mothers did stay skinny in adulthood while eating unlimited healthy food, they overate if given access to unhealthy foods.
Results indicate that while individuals born to mothers who were overweight during pregnancy and nursing may find it harder to regulate their snacking habits, they can still safely satisfy their hunger with healthy foods. Researchers add this work may help drive the future development of brain-altering drugs intended to cut down on unhealthy food cravings.
This research shows that generational obesity goes far beyond simple environmental factors.
“People born to overweight or obese mothers tend to be heavier in adulthood than people born to leaner mothers, and experiments like this suggest that the explanation goes beyond environmental factors such as learning unhealthy eating habits in childhood,” says Mark Rossi, a professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and senior author of the study, in a statement. “Over-nutrition during pregnancy and nursing appears to rewire the brains of developing children and, possibly, future generations.”
Four years ago another study was conducted on pregnant moms, junk food and babies, that revealed alarming “mental health” issues in children born to mothers who ate a lot of junk food while pregnant.
Clearly, there needs to be a much stronger, dedicated focus on nutrition in prenatal care.
Avoiding chips, cheeseburgers, and piles of sweets should be as important as not smoking a cigarette or doing Jäger bombs while your pregnant.
This especially goes for poor families, who tend to be even more generationally obese, because they lack education on nutrition and the know-how to shop for low-cost healthy food.
If we don’t get it together and do something about this obesity crisis, this country will be crushed by our own body weight.
It’s time to start addressing this dangerous problem where it likely starting – in the womb.
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