Friday, February 10, 2017
Public Release: 13-Dec-2016
'Western' maternal diet appears to raise obesity risk in offspring
Scripps Research Institute
Diet composition around the time of pregnancy may influence whether offspring become obese, according to a new study using animal models at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).
"Your diet itself matters, not just whether you are gaining excess weight or developing gestational diabetes," said TSRI Associate Professor Eric Zorrilla, who led the study in collaboration with Tim R. Nagy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Barry E. Levin of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center of East Orange, New Jersey, and Rutgers University.
In fact, the researchers found that giving females a typical American, or Western, diet appeared to set the next generation up for lifelong obesity issues.
Frihauf added that few pregnant women, even in the United States, eat a high-fat, high-sugar diet all day, every day. "We're not trying to tell pregnant women not to occasionally splurge on a piece of cake," she said.
Studies have also shown that paternal diet, through "epigenetic" mechanisms that control how genes are expressed, can affect obesity risk in offspring, added Zorrilla, so nutritional information may be valuable for potential fathers as well.