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Obese mothers raise child mortality

Tags: obesity , pregnancy

Children born to obese mothers are at greater risk of dying prematurely, a study has shown.

Offspring were 35% more likely to have suffered an early death by the age of 55 if their mother had a body mass index of 30 or over during pregnancy.

Researchers at universities in Aberdeen and Edinburgh also said they had a 29% increased risk of being admitted to hospital for heart attacks, angina and stroke than those born to mothers of an average weight.

This held true even after other factors were taken into account, including the mother's age, socioeconomic status, sex of the child, birthweight and their current weight.

Data was analysed for 37,709 babies born between 1950 and 1976 in Scotland who are now aged between 34 and 61. Their mother's weight was recorded during her first antenatal appointment in pregnancy.

Out of the 28,540 mothers assessed, 21% (5,993) were overweight at their first appointment and 4% (1,141) were obese.

Writing online in the BMJ,  the experts said: "Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death in adult offspring. As one in five women in the United Kingdom is obese at antenatal booking, strategies to optimise weight before pregnancy are urgently required."

They said the results were a " major public health concern", especially as only 4% of mothers in the study were obese, which is far smaller than current levels in the US and UK.

Copyright Press Association 2013


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