According to a study conducted by the researchers at the University of Southampton it was found that the mother's diet in pregnancy influences the child's susceptibility to atherosclerosis.
The study analysed more than 200 nine-year-old children and correlated that the lower the mother's calorific intake during pregnancy, the thicker the child's artery walls. The researchers used ultrasound scans to measure the thickness of the wall of the carotid artery in these children. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the artery walls thicken due to fat deposits thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Though doctors and experts advice pregnant women to eat about 2,500 calories a day but the split up of calories that came from protein, fat and carbohydrates is not known.
The study results appeared in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Researchers also said that children suffering from high blood pressure, those who took less exercise and were heavier were more likely to have thicker artery walls. But further study is needed to understand why lower maternal energy intake in pregnancy was linked to increased arterial wall thickness in the children. The researchers therefore concluded by saying that a pregnant woman should always follow a healthy balanced food which protects the mother and the baby from all illness.