Published on 24/05/2012
A new survey has suggested that children tend to have more body fat during childhood if their mother has low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy.
Low vitamin D status has already been associated to obesity in adults and children. A decreased vitamin D status is common in young women in the UK.
Whilst women are recommended to take an additional 10g/day of vitamin D during pregnancy, supplementation is not routine.
Researchers at the MRC LEU, University of Southampton compared the vitamin D status during pregnancy with the body composition of their children.
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they found that children who were born to mothers with low vitamin D status during pregnancy had more body fat when they were six years old.
The study is part of a wider body of work by the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit into how factors during pregnancy might have a long-term effect on childhood growth and development. Sian Robinson, Principal Research Fellow, at the University, who led the study, said:
"In the context of current concerns about low vitamin D status in young women, and increasing rates of childhood obesity in the UK, we need to understand more about the long-term health consequences for children who are born to mothers who have low vitamin D status.”
"An interpretation of our data is that there could be programmed effects on the foetus arising from a lack of maternal vitamin D that remain with the baby and predispose him or her to gain excess body fat in later childhood.”
Further studies are needed to find out more about the connection between vitamin D and childhood obesity.
Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some summer sun. NHS patients or those with health insurance should speak to their GP to find out more about vitamin D and its benefits.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Health