Tags: stress | pregnancy | obesity

Stress in Pregnancy Hikes Kids’ Obesity Risk

Friday, 03 August 2012 10:45 AM

Pregnant women who experience high levels of stress are far more likely to deliver babies who are prone to developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, new research suggests.
The University of Minnesota study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, involved laboratory mice, but has significant implications for humans, researchers said.
"There are a lot of reasons why expectant mothers should not be under stress," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor in chief of The FASEB Journal, "and this report adds yet another reason. What's most interesting, however, is that it provides some insight into how we can counter the negative effects of stress, even when it's not possible to reduce or eliminate the stressors themselves."
The study – led by Ruijun Han, from the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, Stress Physiology Center at the University of Minnesota – focused on the effects of a neurotransmitter found in the brain and nervous system (known as neuropeptide Y, or NPY) associated with appetite and fat storage.
The researchers sought to determine if prenatal stress can cause long-term effects on the NPY that could lead to fat cell growth and obesity in children.
Han and colleagues fed different groups of pregnant mice a low protein diet during pregnancy and lactation; a normal protein diet during pregnancy and lactation; or a low protein diet only during pregnancy. After weaning, all the pups were fed high fat diets for 18 weeks, and researchers tracked and measured the NPY in their systems.
"Our study suggested that NPY [may] play an important role in maternal stress-programmed abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome in offspring," Han said.

© HealthDay

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Pregnant women with high levels of stress are more likely to have babies prone to developing obesity.
Friday, 03 August 2012 10:45 AM
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