Research conducted at the University of Texas and the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico City suggests that overweight women who lose body fat prior to conception will have children that are more likely to to maintain a healthy weight.
Scientists examined the effects of pre-conception weight loss on obese rats and found that the rodents who lost weight before becoming pregnant had offspring with normal triglyceride, insulin and leptin levels.
Rats who stayed obese throughout conception and pregnancy had babies with high levels of triglycerides and insulin as well as increased insulin resistance, putting them at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
While rats with mothers that had weight loss intervention did have more body fat than normal, they fared much better in this regard than the offspring of obese rats.
“Developmental programming sets the scene that influences one’s health for the rest of life,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Peter Nathanielsz.