Babies born to obese mothers are more likely to face heart problems in adulthood, a new study finds.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found a 35% higher risk of dying before the age of 55 of adults born to mothers who were obese during pregnancy.
The large-scale, longitudinal study weighed and measured nearly 30,000 pregnant in Aberdeen, Scotland, between 1950 and 1976.
34 years later researchers searched for death certificates among these mothers’ offspring and discovered 6,551 premature deaths, of which heart disease was the leading contributor.
Children born to obese mothers also faced a 42% increased risk of being treated in hospital for heart-related problems.
It is not known whether the link is down to genetics, influences in the womb or later environmental factors, but the researchers say their findings are of “major public health concern”.
Currently, 1 in 5 pregnant women are obese.
“This study emphasises the need for everyone, but in particular pregnant women, to try to eat healthily and be active,” says Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation.