Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston and Harokopio University have found that insufficient exercise, smoking and excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to obesity in the babies.
The researchers randomly selected 5,125 children from a national database in Greece and matched them with their mothers. The study found that the amount of weight gained throughout pregnancy, the level of physical activity and smoking status was strongly associated with obesity in children.
AdvertisementModerate exercise during pregnancy was found to lower the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese in childhood, even after adjusting for the other maternal and child characteristics.
The development and introduction of specific recommendations for physical activity for pregnant women is relatively recent. Early investigations from the 1970s and 1980s were cautious about recommending that women exercise while pregnant because of limited knowledge about the response of pregnant women's bodies to exercise. Since then, researchers have begun to focus on the potential health benefits of exercise to the mothers and their babies.
Prof. Labros Sidossis, Internal Medicine and Surgery, UTMB said that health care professionals should advise expecting mothers to limit their pregnancy weight gain to the recommended range, involve in moderate exercise during pregnancy and to quit smoking and alcohol.