Stress in the womb increases the risk of overweight in adulthood


A study conducted at the University of Aarhus shows that unborn children who are exposed to severe stress levels, have an increased risk of overweight or obesity in adulthood.

Dr. Lena Hohwü: "overall, our results show that stress can create a programming of the unborn child that makes it susceptible to gaining weight after the birth." The study is based on data of 119 young people between 2006-2011, during which were measured their body mass index or BMI.

The scientists focused on women who experienced the death of a close relative before or during pregnancy. Young people whose mothers were subjected to such stress, had different degrees of increased risk of overweight and obesity. If a woman lost her husband, her son had twice the risk of obesity in adulthood.

"We specifically investigated the stress factor when child's mother loses a close relative just before or during pregnancy, i.e. before the baby is born. We have designated this as "an indicator of extreme stress ", which can double the risk of obesity in adulthood," says Lena Hohwü.



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