Diet and exercise for obese mothers protect cardiovascular risk in babies

A lifestyle intervention of diet and exercise during pregnancy protects against cardiovascular risk in babies, a new study has found.

The study, recently published in the International Journal of Obesity by researchers at King’s College London and funded by the British Heart Foundation, found that 3-year-olds were more likely to exhibit risk factors for future heart disease if their mother was clinically obese during pregnancy. A behavioral lifestyle intervention reduced this risk.

In the UK, more than half of women attending antenatal care are clinically overweight or obese. Increasing evidence suggests that obesity in pregnancy is associated with cardiometabolic dysfunction in children and that serious cardiovascular disease can begin in utero.

The UPBEAT trial, conducted at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, randomized women with obesity (a BMI of more than 30 kg/mtwo) in early pregnancy to a diet and exercise intervention or standard pregnancy care. The intervention included one-to-one counselling, restriction of dietary intake of saturated fat, consumption of low glycemic index foods such as vegetables and legumes, moderate and monitored physical activity, and exercise recording tools. The intervention arm saw improvements in pregnancy weight gain, physical activity, a healthier diet, and a healthier metabolic profile during pregnancy.

Follow-up of the children at three years of age showed that the children of clinically obese women had evidence of cardiac remodeling, a risk factor for future cardiovascular disease. Changes included increased heart muscle thickness, elevated resting heart rate, evidence of early impairment of the heart’s relaxation function, and increased sympathetic nerve activity (“fight or flight” response) compared with women of normal weight. normal. Children of women who were assigned to the intervention arm were protected from these early changes in heart structure and function.

Study leader Dr Paul Taylor, from King’s College London, said: “Maternal obesity appears to have an adverse impact on the developing fetal nervous system and fetal heart development, which is evident up to 3 years of age. age. A complex lifestyle intervention during pregnancy was associated with protection against cardiac remodeling in babies. We can assume that these changes in the heart and its function will worsen over time, putting the child at a higher risk of disease heart disease in the future”.

The study suggests that maternal obesity may have a lasting impact on a child’s cardiovascular health. The promotion of changes in diet and physical activity during pregnancy can reduce this risk.

Story Source:

Materials provided by King’s College London. Note: content can be edited for style and length.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *