Lead author Karen Lillycrop said the study results could help develop strategies to prevent obesity as a child grows up. Stock picture
A child’s risk of obesity as they grow up can be influenced by modifications to their DNA while in the womb caused by their mother’s “health, diet and lifestyle”, according to new research.
Scientists at the University of Southampton, UK, found changes prior to birth can impact long-term on a child’s health.
The researchers examined umbilical cord tissue of babies and said there is growing evidence the level of DNA methylation can be affected by a range of environmental factors such as parental health, diet and lifestyle.
Lead author Karen Lillycrop said the study results could help develop strategies to prevent obesity as a child grows up.
“This is exciting new evidence that epigenetic changes detectable at birth are linked to a child’s health as they grow up.
“Not only does it strengthen the body of evidence that shows a mother’s health during pregnancy can affect the future health of her child, but it could also allow us to more accurately predict the future risk of obesity.”
The study is published in ‘EBio Medicine’.[“Source-independent”]