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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kids of Obese Mothers at Higher Risk for Autism

Kids of moms who were severely obese, with a BMI greater than 35, were twice as likely to have emotional symptoms, problems with peers and total psychosocial difficulties compared to kids of moms who had a healthy BMI, between 18.5 and 25. Their children were three times as likely to have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and more than four time as likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as reported in the journal Pediatrics. Previous studies have shown a connection with autism and maternal diabetes and obesity. Researchers took into account pregnancy weight gain, gestational diabetes, breastfeeding duration, postpartum depression and infant birth weight. None of these explained the apparent association. “We already do know that obesity is related to health problems during pregnancy and throughout the lifetime,” Jo said. “I think this adds to that by suggesting that not only does severe obesity affect a woman’s health but the health of her future children.” This study could not analyze the mechanism linking severe obesity and later risk for developmental problems, Jo noted. “One theory that we could not look at and needs further research was some small studies have linked maternal obesity to increased inflammation, which might affect fetal brain development,” she told Reuters Health by phone.

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