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Pre-pregnancy obesity linked to lower test scores in offspring - China Led Spot Lighting Fixtures by fdhjkl rfghjtkl

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Pre-pregnancy obesity linked to lower test scores in offspring - China Led Spot Lighting Fixtures by
Article Posted: 01/26/2013
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Pre-pregnancy obesity linked to lower test scores in offspring - China Led Spot Lighting Fixtures

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Women who are obese before they become pregnant are at higher riskof having children with lower cognitive function - as measured bymath and reading tests taken between ages 5 to 7 years - than aremothers with a healthy pre-pregnancy weight, new research suggests. In this large observational study, pre-pregnancy obesity was associated, on average, with a three-point drop in readingscores and a two-point reduction in math scores on a commonly usedtest of children's cognitive function. Previous research has suggested that a woman's pre-pregnancyobesity can have a negative effect on fetal organs, such as theheart, liver and pancreas. Because fetal development is rapid andsensitive to a mother's physiological characteristics, Ohio StateUniversity researchers sought to find out whether a mother'sobesity also could affect the fetal brain.

"One way you measure the effects on the brain is by measuringcognition," said Rika Tanda, lead author of the study and adoctoral candidate in nursing at Ohio State. The research also supported findings in previous studies suggestingthat several other conditions affect childhood cognition, includinghow stimulating the home environment is, family income and amother's education and cognitive skills. "The new piece here is we have a measure associated with thefetus's environment to add to that set of potential risk factors,"said Pamela Salsberry, senior author of the study and a professorof nursing at Ohio State. "If we have a good way to understand therisks each child is born with, we could tailor the post-birthenvironment in such a way that they could reach their maximumcapabilities." The research appears online and is scheduled for future printpublication in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey ofYouth (NLSY) 1979 Mother and Child Survey, a nationallyrepresentative sample of men and women who were 14-21 years old inDecember 1978. From that dataset, Tanda collected information on3,412 children born to NLSY mothers who had been full-term births,were between 5 and almost 7 years old at the time of theirinterview and who had no diagnosed physical or cognition problems. In addition to documenting a number of characteristics about themothers and the family environment, the researchers gauged thechildren's cognitive function based on their performance on PeabodyIndividual Achievement Test reading recognition and mathassessments. The researchers calculated the mothers' body mass index (BMI) basedon their reported heights and weights. More than half of mothershad normal BMIs before pregnancy, and 9.6 percent were obese,meaning they had a BMI of 30 or higher.

Controlling for all other variables, the analysis showed thatmaternal pre-pregnancy obesity was negatively associated with mathand reading test scores. Children of obese women scored, onaverage, three points lower on reading and two points lower on maththan did children of healthy-weight women. The mean reading scoreamong all the children was 106.1 points and the mean math score was99.9. Though the score differences seem small, Tanda noted that theseeffects of pre-pregnancy obesity were equivalent to a seven-yeardecrease in the mothers' education and significantly lower familyincome, two other known risk factors that negatively affectchildhood cognitive function.

Tanda said clinicians could use these findings to help encouragewomen patients of childbearing age to maintain a healthy weight,especially if they plan to get pregnant. "This is a large population study, so at the individual level wecan't say that one person's decision to change her weight willchange her child's outcome," she said. "But these findings suggestthat children born to women who are obese before pregnancy mightneed extra support." Added Salsberry, "It's not only for their child's sake. It's alsoimportant for the health of the mother.

But it is important tounderstand that maternal obesity during pregnancy could haveimplications for their children as well." Without actual measures of women's and fetuses' insulin levels,inflammation and blood sugar readings, scientists can't say forsure how pre-pregnancy obesity might affect the fetal brain. Butprevious studies have suggested that a mother's impaired metabolicprocesses affect the fetal brain cell growth and formation ofsynapses. The researchers also noted that obesity doesn't automaticallyequate to unhealthy. "There may be two obese moms that in fact have very differentmetabolic profiles.

For the purposes of this study, her weight is astand-in for biological data that we would like to have but don't,"Salsberry said. Socioeconomic data from the study supported previous findings thatseveral post-birth conditions can have a positive association withhigher children's test scores. These include a stimulating homeenvironment with plenty of books, a safe play environment andfrequent family meals; higher family income; and higher maternaleducation levels and cognitive function. Girls and first-bornchildren also performed better on the math and reading tests thandid boys and younger siblings. With all these data combined, Tanda said, the study also revealshow health disparities can have long-lasting effects.

"Young females who grow up poor, who have less access to healthyfoods resulting in diets that are of poorer quality, are at higherrisk of having children with disadvantages and repeating thiscycle," she said. The researchers are continuing to examine additional influences onchildhood cognition, including race, sex and age differences amongmothers. Additional References Citations.

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