Researchers at the Warwick Medical School have revealed a connection between life in the womb and obesity after birth. Healthier eating habits and regular vitamin intake may help reduce the risk of obesity late in life, according to the study. The Warwick Medical School collaborated with the Kind Edward Memorial Hospital in India and the University of Southampton in England to complete the study.

The obesity epidemic spreading across the world is the root of many medical studies today. Researchers are attempting to find a solid link between maternal behaviors during pregnancy and weight gain in childhood, teen years and adulthood. That connection has been suggested as a result of other studies in addition to the Warwick study.

According to Dr. Ponnusamy Saravanan, each generation is getting heavier and with this increased weight comes an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other weight-related conditions. After studying women in the study, researchers believe that vitamin B12 and micronutrient intake during pregnancy may play a significant role in obesity. Reduced vitamin B12 and micronutrient intake resulted in an infant that showed marked signs of potential diabetes and heart disease development at birth and 6 years of age.

Saravanan stated, “We believe that the micro-nutrients (vitamins) in a woman's diet fundamentally influence how the DNA functions, and this gene-diet interaction determines, at least in part, whether you are going to be more prone to being overweight as an adult. So this very early 'in-utero' stage can be critical in mapping out your adult health. Warwick's research on the functions of fat cells (adipocytes), indeed shows such imbalance of micronutrients fundamentally affects how energy is handled by these cells.”

Researchers stated that the study is on-going. The team continues to monitor the effects of dietary intake on fetal health, development and risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

Source: Dr. Ponnusamy Saravanan, et al. Warwick Medical School.