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Obesity and smoking in pregnancy ‘makes heavier babies’

Mothers who smoke and are overweight during pregnancy put their babies at risk of obesity, research suggests.

The UK researchers at Nottingham University looked at 30 studies involving more than 200,000 people and found that smoking during pregnancy alone boosted the risk by 47.5%.

Breastfeeding, meanwhile, cut the risk by 15%.

And there was some evidence to suggest that the early introduction of solid foods increased the risk.

But they found no link between the mother's age, education or ethnicity, Archives of Disease in Childhood reports.

In the UK in 2008, just under a third of boys and girls aged between 2 and 15 were classified as overweight or obese.

Experts know that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to continue this trend into adulthood than those who are a healthy weight in their early years.

And obesity is linked to a number of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Latest figures from the NHS Information Centre show nearly 14% of women smoked in pregnancy in England in 2011/12.

Smoking, on its own, can cause a range of serious health problems, including lower birth weight, pre-term birth, placental complications and perinatal mortality.

Visit the rest of our Pregnancy and Caring for Your Children Centre where you will find information on healthy eating when pregnant and you can ask one of our experts any questions you may have about being pregnant.

Source © Trio Media 2012

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