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YOU ARE WHAT YOUR MUM ATE; Child obesity link to mother's diet.

Byline: By John von Radowitz

PREGNANT women who eat lots of junk food could be storing up problems for their children, experts have warned.

A study suggests that a mother's poor diet can do irreversible damage to her child.

And breastfeeding mums have to be careful about what they eat, too.

Mums could be passing on increased levels of cholesterol and a higher risk of diabetes and obesity.

Researcher Dr Stephanie Bayol said: "A mother's diet whilst pregnant and breastfeeding is very important for the longterm health of her child. We always say, 'You are what you eat'.

"In fact, it may also be true that you are what your mother ate.

"This does not mean obesity and poor health are inevitable and it is important we take care of ourselves and lead a healthy lifestyle.

But it does mean that mothers must eat responsibly whilst pregnant."

The research follows up a previous study by the same team in which pregnant rats were given a diet rich in fat, sugar and salt.

Many gave birth to offspring which over-ate and had a preference for junk food.

The team have now taken the research further to show that a mother's diet can have effects lasting well into adulthood.

Even when young rats were weaned off junk food, their metabolism remained altered, making them overweight and unhealthy.

Dr Bayol and colleague Professor Neil Stickland, of the Royal Veterinary College, London, studied the offspring of rats fed a diet of doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, crisps and sweets during pregnancy and lactation.

Professor Stickland said: "Humans share a number of fundamental biological systems with rats, so there is good reason to assume the effects we see in rats may be repeated in humans.

"Our research tallies with studies linking children's weight to that of their parents."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Words:308
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