Babies of mothers with a high body mass index (BMI) prior to giving birth tend to be fatter and have more fat in their liver, say researchers.
Researchers from Imperial College London concluded that the mother’s BMI had a direct link to the body weight of their child and a mother with a high BMI could give birth to a child with long-term metabolic problems.
The study, which was published in the latest edition of the Pediatric Research journal, was based on the results of the magnetic resonance scanning of 105 babies born at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
The babies were scanned to measure the amount of fat they had in their liver cells, the total amount of fat in their bodies and where it is stored.
The researchers discovered that the higher the expectant mother’s BMI is, the higher their baby’s liver cell fat and total fat level is likely to be.
Study leader Professor Neena Modi said: “There is growing evidence that a baby’s development before birth has a major impact on their health in later life. This means that the prevention of obesity needs to begin in the womb.”
- Modi N, et al. The Influence of Maternal Body Mass Index on Infant Adiposity and Hepatic Lipid Content. Pediatric Research 2011; 70: 287-291.