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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Obesity in Children

A mother's high blood pressure during pregnancy could increase a child's risk of becoming obese in later life.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:September 28, 2017, 5:21 PM IST
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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Linked to Higher Risk of Obesity in Children
New research has found a link between high blood pressure during pregnancy and obesity in childhood. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ didesign021/ IStock.com)
New research has found that a mother's high blood pressure during pregnancy could increase a child's risk of becoming obese in later life.

Carried out by researchers from Qingdao University in Qingdao, China, and the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK, the study looked at the blood pressure levels and weight in 88,406 mother-child pairs who participated in the Jiaxing Birth Cohort in southeastern China between 1999 and 2013.

The women's blood pressure results were analyzed during all three trimesters of pregnancy, and the children were weighed when they were between the ages of 4 and 7.

The results showed that the women who had high blood pressure during their second trimester had children who were 49 percent more likely to be categorized as overweight or obese when compared to children of mothers who had lower blood pressure levels.

The children of women with high blood pressure during the third trimester were 14 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

The team also found that the results were unaffected by the mother's own body size before pregnancy.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate that among pregnant women, elevated blood pressure is associated with a greater risk of overweight and obesity for their children," said the study's first author, Ju-Sheng Zheng, Ph.D., "The risk still existed for children of women who didn't have hypertension, but whose blood pressure during pregnancy was at the high end of the normal range."

"The results indicate that all pregnant women and their doctors should monitor and try to limit a substantial increase in blood pressure in mid-to-late pregnancy," added Zheng, "This may help reduce the likelihood of their children being affected by obesity."

Childhood obesity is now an international public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, around 42 million children ages 5 and younger worldwide now meet the criteria for obesity or being overweight.

The results can be found in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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