Researchers at King’s are looking into the effects early interventions in pregnancy can have on the long-term health and body fat mass of both mother and baby.
In a paper, recently published in the International Journal of Obesity, the team took a group of 1555 obese pregnant women who, in a randomised controlled trial, either experienced standard antenatal care or care plus behavioural intervention targeting diet and physical activity.
They found that mothers who experienced the intervention started to follow a better diet in pregnancy, which led to a reduction in their body fat and a modest improvement in physical activity.
The team then conducted a planned follow up at six months after birth of both the mother and baby. They found for the first time, that the intervention had also led to a reduction in the baby’s fat mass, and that changes in the mother’s diet during pregnancy had lasted beyond birth.
“Childhood obesity is a major health concern, with 27.3% of children estimated to be overweight or obese in the USA,” said Professor Lucilla Poston , one of the study’s authors from the Division of Women’s Health at King’s College London.
“Our study demonstrates the positive effect targeted intervention can have in improving the health of mother and child. Indications suggest that even modest differences in body fat at six months may be amplified as the child grows older, staying low through childhood and into adulthood.”
The full paper is available here.