Researcher at the University of Graz shows: Less time on the couch reduces fatness in babies
In Austria, 30 per cent of the boys and 22 per cent of the girls aged between six and nine are overweight or obese. This fact causes enormous problems for society and health care. However, having too much fat starts in the womb. Obese pregnant women often give birth to fat babies, who are more likely to be overweight as children and adolescents. Sports scientist Mireille van Poppel, sports has undertaken a large lifestyle study to find out how overweight mothers can give their babies a better start into life. “For the first time we have been able to show that women can change their behaviour during pregnancy and this can reduce the fatness of their children”, van Poppel concludes.
In the study that was financed by the EU more than 300 obese mothers from nine European countries received advice on physical activity, healthy eating, or a combination of the two. These groups were compared to a control group who received no advice. The fatness (skinfold thickness) of their babies was measured at birth. “We found that when women received counseling on both physical activity and healthy eating, they managed to gain less weight, increase their physical activity, improve their eating habits and reduced the time spent sitting”, van Poppel reports. But most importantly, their babies had less fat at birth compared to those from women who had not received advice. The researchers also had a closer look at which facet of lifestyle was related to the reduction in fatness. This was the amount of time they spent on the sofa. “We need to advise expectant obese mothers to reduce their sitting activities. This might be an easier message to adopt for the women than increasing physical activity in pregnancy”, the scientist says. The results have been published in the journal Diabetologia.
Univ.-Prof. Mireille van Poppel, PhD
Institute of Sports Science at the University of Graz
Phone: +43 316/380-2335
A reduction in sedentary behaviour in obese women during pregnancy reduces neonatal adiposity: the DALI randomized controlled trial