Consuming healthy food and plenty of nutrients is important in all stages of life. However, new scientific investigation has suggested that adequate maternal diet during pregnancy can have a big impact on a child’s subsequent risk of becoming obese in adulthood.
The report, which appears in the journal Brain Research, found that malnourished newborns are more likely to grow up to be overweight or obese adults. The study’s authors theorized that the problem may stem from neural underdevelopment.
Babies who are undernourished appear to have fewer neural stem cells in key parts of the brain responsible for appetite restraint, the research team said. They added that as an underweight baby grows, it may be at risk for becoming overweight simply because it has fewer brain cells to reign in overeating.
“This study demonstrates the importance of maternal nutrition and health in reducing obesity,” lead author Mina Desai said.
Women who want to maintain adequate vitamin levels during pregnancy can take a nutritional supplement designed especially for expecting mothers.