Mom's Pregnancy Pounds Tied to School-Age Obesity in Kids: Study

How much a mom-to-be gains during pregnancy may hold the key to the so-called obesity epidemic

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    Preventing obesity in school-age children may begin in the womb according to results of a new study.

    "Children born to women who gained excessive amounts of weight - 40 lbs. or more - during pregnancy had an 8 percent increased risk of obesity," says David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital.

    The study looked at birth records of more than 41,000 mothers and their children in Arkansas. They then compared those with the children’s body mass index (BMI) when the children were 11 or 12 years old.

    Researchers say they found high pregnancy weight gain increases the risk of obesity in those children through age 12.

    The findings were published Oct. 1 in PLoS Medicine.

    Ludwig completed a previous study that linked a mother’s weight gain in pregnancy with the birth weight of the infant.