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Tests. Being overweight in pregnant mothers can affect babies

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People whose mothers were overweight during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be more likely to crave unhealthy foods as adults, according to a team of researchers from Rutgers University in the US. The results of their study, conducted in mice, were published on March 14 in Science Direct.

According to the presented findings of academics, the intake of excessive amounts of calories by mothers during pregnancy and during breastfeeding contributes to changes in the brains of children, which can lead to their later problems with maintaining a healthy weight. “Experiments like this suggest that the explanation goes beyond environmental factors,” says one of the study’s co-authors, Mark Rossi, as quoted by ScienceDaily.

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Unhealthy eating habits sucked from mother’s milk?

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Rutgers University researchers conducted a study using laboratory mice. They gathered a group of six rodents, which they then divided into two parts. The first was fed a high-fat diet and the second a healthy diet, resulting in a group of overweight mice and a group of normal-weight mice. This division was then maintained throughout their gestation and lactation. After its completion, data on about 50 offspring born by mice were analyzed. Differences in weight were observed between the weight of both litters.

In the next phase of the study, the researchers started giving all mice unlimited amounts of healthy food. Then the weight of all mice equalized and was within the normal range. In the last phase of the study, the rodents were given unrestricted access to unhealthy food. While all mice then began to consume excessive amounts of food, the amounts consumed by the offspring of overweight mothers were significantly greater.

Further research revealed that the differences in food intake in the final stage of the experiment were due to different connections between the two parts of the brain. As the researchers emphasize, these differences are important because they translate into an increased craving for high-fat or unhealthy foods in mice born to overweight individuals. ‘We don’t yet fully understand how these changes occur, even in mice.’ So there’s still a lot of work to do,’ commented Mark Rossi. However, he added, “every experiment gives us more information, and every bit of knowledge about the processes behind binge eating can help in (developing – ed.) a potential treatment.”

SEE ALSO: Reuters: Breakthrough obesity drug coming soon to UK

ScienceDirect, ScienceDaily

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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