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Aurora magazine

Maternal obesity causes delay in cognitive development

In recent years, a large number of studies have shown how mother's body weight can affect a child's health. Specifically, obesity causes a large number of possible long-term damage. According to a study by the University of Texas Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, there is also a delay in the cognitive development of the child.

The researchers followed 368 mothers and their babies for around 7 years. When the children turned 3 and 7 years old, they underwent motor and cognitive tests. In a second moment, they crossed the data with the health status of the mothers and the weight in pregnancy. To avoid polluting the data, they chose only women who lived in similar socioeconomic conditions and in similar neighborhoods.

Children born to very overweight or obese women scored the worst. In tests for calculating the IQ, they scored about 5 points less than children born to normal weight mothers. What's worse, the gap would remain even after early childhood. However, this only applies to boys: the girls did not show substantial differences on a cognitive level.

For the moment, it is unclear how obesity in pregnancy affects a child's cognitive abilities. It may be because of poor nutrition, high in fat and low in useful nutrients. According to other scholars, the reason may lie in the inflammation and metabolic stress that accompanies obesity. To give a precise answer other studies will be needed.

Source: mailman.columbia.edu