Smoking During Pregnancy Linked to Overweight Babies

Smoking during pregnancy is a poor choice for any soon-to-be mom to make but new information linking the unhealthy habit to baby obesity should urge pregnant women to put down the cigarettes for good – for the health of their babies.

According to the new study, published on October 29, 2012 in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are 48 percent more likely to be overweight. While the number is clear, the exact reasoning for the increased risk could not be proven. Dr. Stephen Weng of the UK Center for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham notes that some of the increased risk may be contributed to the poor lifestyle choices and behaviours that many smokers possess.

Alternatively, the same study, which followed more than 200,000 people across 30 studies between 1990 and 2011, also revealed that breastfeeding helped to reduce the risk of children becoming overweight. Specifically, the decision to breastfeed decreased the likeliness by 15 percent.

Lead researchers of the study concluded that there are many factors which can determine whether a baby/child will become overweight. “Several risk factors for both overweight and obesity in childhood are identifiable during infancy,” Weng and colleagues concluded in the report. “Future research needs to focus on whether it is clinically feasible for health care professionals to identify infants at greatest risk.”

Source: Archives of Disease in Childhood

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