Antioxidants in Pregnancy Prevent Obesity in Animal Offspring


March 16, 2011

PR Newswire

PHILADELPHIA, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New biological research may be relevant to the effects of a mother's high-fat diet during pregnancy on the development of obesity in her children.

An animal study at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia suggests that a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet causes oxidative stress—an excess of deleterious free radicals—during pregnancy, predisposing the offspring to obesity and diabetes. Feeding rats antioxidants before and during pregnancy completely prevented obesity and glucose intolerance in their offspring.

If the results in animals prove to be similar in humans, the research may have implications for reducing obesity rates in children. "We already know that there are critical periods during human development that influence the later development of obesity," said senior author Rebecca A. Simmons, M.D., a neonatologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This research suggests that if we can prevent inflammation and oxidative stress during pregnancy, we may lower the risk that a child will develop obesity." Read More