Maternal obesity could affect child’s brain growth

May 1st, 2011 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 1 (IANS) Babies born to obese mothers may suffer from iron deficiency, which could affect the development of their brains, a study says.

In non pregnant adults, obesity-related inflammation hinders the transport of iron through the intestine, increasing the risk of iron deficiency anaemia.

When a woman is pregnant, iron is transferred through the intestine to the placenta, but it is not known how maternal obesity affects newborn babys’ iron status.

Foetal iron status is important because 50 percent of the iron needed for infant growth is obtained before birth.

“These findings are important because iron deficiency in infancy is associated with impaired brain development, and we should understand all risk factors for iron deficiency in infancy,” said Pamela J. Kling, principal investigator and associate professor of paediatrics and neonatology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Researchers studied 281 mother-newborn pairs. The women’s body mass index (height to weight ratio) was calculated before delivery, and a score of 30 or above was defined as obese, according to a Wisconsin statement.

Investigators also determined infants’ iron level by analysing umbilical cord blood.

Results showed evidence of impaired iron status in newborns of women who were obese.

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