Nutrition Articles

More Reason to Get Fit Before Pregnancy

Pregnancy Nutrition & Fitness News Flash

127SHARES
According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, a child is more likely to be overweight at a young age if his mother was overweight before she became pregnant.

Ohio State University researchers studied data from more than 3,000 children and their mothers. They examined factors such as race, ethnicity, the mother's pre-pregnancy weight (based on her recollection), whether or not the mother smoked during pregnancy, and whether or not she breastfed her baby. In addition to this, children's weights were recorded regularly between ages 3 and 7. Of all these factors, a mother's pre-pregnancy weight had the greatest impact on her child's weight. The children of women who were overweight before pregnancy were three times more likely to be overweight by age seven compared to women whose weights were healthy before conception. The more overweight a woman was, the greater her child's risk of obesity became.

This study also found that:
  • Black and Hispanic children were overweight 4-6% more than white children.
  • Children of women who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to be overweight.
  • Formula-fed babies were more likely to be overweight than children who were breastfed as babies.
According to the lead author of the study, Pamela Salsberry, who is also associate professor of nursing at Ohio State University, a child's weight tends to be consistent over time. Children in the study who were overweight at age three were likely to still be overweight at age seven. Other research shows that overweight children tend to grow into overweight adults.

Action Sparked: Not only do overweight women experience higher risks for gestational diabetes and complicated deliveries, but now research is showing that simply being overweight can affect your child's weight-even before he is born. This is likely due to lifestyle factors, such as lack of exercise or poor diet, which parents often pass on to their children inadvertently. Take time before conception to exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet. This will help you achieve a healthy weight before conception; continuing these practices during pregnancy and beyond will not only control your weight gain over time, but allow you to emulate and teach healthy habits to your children as well.
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
127SHARES

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

Follow Coach Nicole Online:
Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram

Member Comments

  • JGMARIE80
    I was a very healthy woman before i got pregnant. The only problem I had was high blood pressure. I was 110 pounds, never smoked, never drink. I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy. My son was barely 7 pounds. Post pregnancy , I was see- sawing between 135 and 140 pounds and was unable to shake it off no matter what I do. It was frustrating. My son is 12 yrs. old, 104 pounds and 5 ft. 2 in. He is very active in sports. He was never Breast fed (I did not produce enough milk). He was fed formula milk. When he was in pre- school thru kindergarten years he developed 32 allergies as diagnosed by bloodwork ( 7 types of grass, 8 types of trees....) I was afraid to send him outside. Now, he's just as healthy as can be. Exercise is important as well as a healthy diet. Sometimes he eats junk food but he's able to burn it off. As for his allergies, he hasn't had any attacks for more than 5 years. I think it's a matter of choice. If you want to be healthy , you'll choose a healthier lifestyle. - 4/11/2013 9:21:13 PM
  • I was overweight while giving birth to both my kids(both were close 9lbs at birth). My 7yr old has been at 50th percentile for weight ever since he started walking. My two yr old is 25th percentile for weight since he started walking. So not overweight at all.

    I didn't have gestational diabetes though. I breast fed both my kids for two years and they were never given formula, for that matter not even a bottle. I don't drink or smoke and eat very healthy, mostly vegetarian food. - 5/3/2012 2:04:26 PM
  • I was overweight while giving birth to both my kids(both were close 9lbs at birth). My 7yr old has been at 50th percentile for weight ever since he started walking. My two yr old is 25th percentile for weight since he started walking. So not overweight at all.

    I didn't have gestational diabetes though. I breast fed both my kids for two years and they were never given formula, for that matter not even a bottle. I don't drink or smoke and eat very healthy, mostly vegetarian food. - 5/3/2012 2:00:34 PM
  • this is sort of funny. even when i was fit and in shape i was considered to be 15-20 pounds overweight, even though i didn't look it.

    i was overweight when i got pregnant but all my kids at 6 6 and 7 are healthy and skinny. two of my kidz are at the higher percentiles for height and weight but they're a bit on the tall side, and one of my daughters is thick (think muscle) and the other one even with the higher percentile is super skinny. and the one at the more "normal" percentile is soosooo skinny. shes like all elbows and knees and chin and ribs, lol.

    so i won't take this study too close to heart. - 11/10/2011 1:31:13 PM
  • NICOLEPREGNANCY
    This is incredible!! http://pregnancyp
    ossible.com - 2/1/2011 4:13:32 PM
  • KV711LAW

    Despite the incredible advances in medicine that have taken place in recent decades, the numbers of high-risk pregnancies, premature and low birth weight babies, miscarriages, stillbirths, and newborn and maternal deaths are all on the rise in the United States. Working on a High Risk OB unit in a major teaching hospital, I can relate to this article. More than ever in history we are seeing an explosion of problems related to womens health, before and during pregnancy. Some examples:

    Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    Diabetes, new or long-standing
    Underweight or overweight
    Asthma
    Advanced maternal age
    Systemic illnesses such as heart disease, kidney disease, blood abnormalities, or thyroid disease
    Pre-eclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
    Diabetes in pregnancy
    Bleeding or hemorrhage from the placenta
    Most of these are preventable. What we must do is realize that we are partners in our own health care. We cannot just throw caution to the wind and then expect our overburdened health care system to fix all the conditions that we sometimes bring on ourselves. We must take an equal role in this process.

    More and more we encouraged to have a voice in our own care. Take advantage of the programs available to you from the health care system. Look into alternative methods of birthing including Midwifery, water labors, nutrition and exercise programs and those that involve the entire families such as Lamaze and sibling classes, to name just a few. Do the research and ask questions. If your health care providers are not open to this, search out ones that are. Teaching hospitals are excellent resources.

    We must take responsibility for our own health care and not expect the healthcare community to fix all the damage that we cause, that is preventable. I find it criminal when I see diabetic patients and the like come into our unit to ask us to "fix" the damage they have done by being uncompliant. Once you are pregnant, what you do to yourself affects your unborn child. Most of the cases I see tha... - 9/24/2009 5:04:44 PM
  • The whole set up in American hospitals is to make birthing a medical experience. And I believe that formula companies are pushing their product. My son was pre-mature. My doc gave me a shot to "dry up" my breasts without telling me. It was suppose to be better for both of us. Wrong! I insisted on a breast pump immediately and started freezing my milk from day one. I had a huge reserve and my son had the important antibodies from me. I had to correct the hospital when they tried to give him formula to "supplement" him. With a little more time and effort my much more healthier breast milk gave him the resistance to allergies that I suffer from. Instead of him starting early to have them! - 7/26/2009 2:32:14 PM
  • As for breastfeeding being important---it is. But some mothers aren't able to do that.

    And while my little one is "heavy", she's also tall--she's head and shoulders above a few little ones that are the same age as her. She's NOT fat, even though she was formula fed.

    I think it's far more important to instill good balanced eating habits in children than to worry about what factors MIGHT make them fat. Not to say that one shouldn't reduce one's risks of pregnancy problems, but to say that the whole reason would be to make sure the kid's not fat--seems like a big step/assumption to make. - 4/6/2009 3:24:43 PM
  • Why do I think that:

    "This will help you achieve a healthy weight before conception; continuing these practices during pregnancy and beyond will not only control your weight gain over time, but allow you to emulate and teach healthy habits to your children as well."

    Has more to do with the child's weight problem than:

    "The children of women who were overweight before pregnancy were three times more likely to be overweight by age seven compared to women whose weights were healthy before conception. The more overweight a woman was, the greater her child's risk of obesity became."

    Did they even look at what the mother's CURRENT weight was--and if there was a difference from a mother that was overweight before/during pregnancy and was "healthy" weight by the time the little one was 3-7?

    It seems that they're not looking at all the facts on that one--that it would be more related to what the parents eat (and therefore are feeding their kids). - 4/6/2009 3:20:56 PM
  • I think this has more to do with the fact that the overweight mother probably makes the same poor nutritional choices for her child. It sounds more like correlation than causation. - 9/20/2008 8:40:10 PM
  • Breastfeeding is so important to a child's well being. - 6/7/2008 7:01:02 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by December 3! Get a FREE Personalized Plan