Obesity problems can begin in the womb

Weight problems can begin in the womb, according to research carried out by German scientists

Researchers at the Charite Hospital in Berlin compared results from 66 international studies involving around 640 000 patients from 26 countries across the globe and discovered that children with a birth weight of more than 4 kilograms were twice as likely to suffer from obesity in later life as normal-weight babies.

Conditions during pregnancy can have a direct effect on a child's health for the rest of his or her life, which is why doctors need to pay greater attention to the issue of over-feeding, lack of exercise and diabetes during pregnancy.

Steps taken before birth could ensure a child does not have weight problems later in life. The fact that parents or grandparents are overweight has a lesser effect. Genetic factors leading to obesity have almost no impact on the weight of an infant at birth, they say.

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