Studies have shown that an overweight mother has a higher chance of giving birth to a plump baby. This puts the child at risk of developing diabetes and obesity-related illness somewhere during its life.
One study has revealed that one in three Aussie babies are at an increased risk of becoming overweight because their mothers are obese, with researchers believing that the brain's appetite controls can be set in early life.
"Maternal obesity and overfeeding early on in life caused significant changes in the chemicals that regulate appetite, which may suggest that the babies were programmed to eat differently from those born from lean mothers," the Daily Telegraph quoted lead author Professor Margaret Morris, as saying.
"Appetite is controlled by particular centers within the brain. As brain control of appetite is likely set early in life, nutrient availability in the fetal or early post-natal period may contribute to adult obesity. We have a good opportunity here to prevent adult obesity," Morris added.
The study, to be published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that slightly undernourished rat pups were healthier adults, while overfed babies were fatter.
A separate UNSW study, published in US journal Endocrinology, revealed pups from obese mother rats fed more milk were almost twice as heavy as those born to lean mothers feeding normally.