Obesity in Parents Linked to Delays in Kids
According to a new study, children whose parents are obese may have a higher risk for developmental delays. This finding is significant, as about 1 in 5 expectant mothers in the U.S. is overweight or obese.
The study was conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was published in Pediatrics. It confirms earlier research showing that parents’ weight can impact child development. Children in the study were evaluated at four months of age and then six more times until the age of three. The mothers’ weights—before and after pregnancy—and the fathers’ weights were also recorded.
At three years old, children whose mothers were obese were 70 percent more likely to fail tests that measure fine motor skills—skills that require the use of small muscles in the hand and fingers, for example. Children whose fathers were obese were 75 percent more likely to fail tests that measure their ability to relate to and interact with others, and children whose both parents were obese were three times more likely to fail problem solving tests. The reason for this is unknown at this time, but it may be that parental obesity could lead to inflammation that affects brain development in offspring.
Image Credit: Thinkstock