Mom's lifestyle could be key to childhood obesity, study suggests

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 7, 2018

Still, the fact that children of mothers who engage in these five behaviors are 75% less likely to develop obesity is a huge deal.

An index between 18.5kg/m2 and 25kg/m2 is considered the healthy weight range - anything at 30kg/m2 or above is considered to be obese.

The children who belong to the age group less than 19 are having body mass index defined as obese.

"High BMI has now overtaken tobacco as the greatest contributor to health loss in New Zealand, which emphasises the public health importance of these findings", Mr Wilson said. "Prospective research examining the role of fathers in the development of obesity in offspring is needed" they add.

A new study is predicting two million New Zealanders could be considered clinically obese in the next 20 years.

"Our study was the first to demonstrate that an overall healthy lifestyle really outweighs any individual healthy lifestyle factors followed by mothers when it comes to lowering the risk of obesity in their children", said the study's senior author Qi Sun, an associate professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition, in a statement. Because so few mothers in the Nurses' Health Study II were considered heavy drinkers, the researchers could not determine the association between heavy alcohol use and the risk of obesity in children.

The risk of obesity was 56% lower in children of women with a healthy body weight than those in other BMI categories.

The scientists analyzed the data of about 24,000 children aged 9 to 18.

The Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) began in 1996 with a mission to better understand how diet and exercise influence weight changes throughout the course of a person's life.

As the part of the study, nurses have to fill up the answers to certain questions regarding the lifestyle, habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, health, diet and exercise patterns.

If the mother followed following health habits then the risk of an obese child is reduced with the average of 75 percent risk.

Children whose mothers stick to healthy lifestyle practices are less likely to be obese than children of less healthy moms, researchers report.

"One potential explanation for our observation of a null association between maternal diet and childhood obesity is that children's energy intake might not be exclusively from meals prepared at home because children's diet is influenced by multiple factors including school and neighborhood food environments and peer influences", the authors explained.

High BMI is the greatest contributing risk factor to health loss in New Zealand.

All in all, maternal lifestyle was more connected to whether or not a child developed obesity than children's lifestyle - though if both mothers and children engaged in a healthy lifestyle (eating well and exercising), the researchers found those kids were 82% less likely to become obese. "Healthcare costs associated with treating overweight- and obesity-related conditions in NZ were estimated to be NZ$624 million in 2006, representing 4.4 per cent of all healthcare spending".

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