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In the News, Pediatrics, Pregnancy, Women's Health

Does maternal vitamin D insufficiency predispose children to weight gain?

Earlier this month, researchers presented findings at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting showing women who consume high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy have a significantly reduced risk of complications.

Now new research from the University of Southampton in the U.K. offers additional insights into how mothers’ vitamin D levels may influence their offspring’s health. In the study (.pdf), researchers followed 977 pregnant women and compared their vitamin D levels with the body composition of their children three weeks after birth and at age 4 and age 6.

Results showed children born to mothers who had low vitamin D status in pregnancy had more body fat when they were 6 years old. Healthland reports:

How vitamin D in mothers affects their children’s weight gain remains unknown, but the authors speculate that there are “programmed effects on the fetus that arise from maternal vitamin D insufficiency that remain with the [baby] and that may predispose him or her to gain excess body fat in later childhood.”

The researchers add that childhood weight gain can also be attributed to other issues associated with insufficient maternal nutrition like too much or too little weight gain by pregnant mothers.

Previously: Better diet in pregnancy shown to protect against birth defects
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