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Obesity in pregnancy causes a greater weight of babies at birth

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Obesity in pregnancy causes a greater weight of babies at birth

Obesity during pregnancy results in higher levels of leptin in blood and, therefore, a greater weight of babies at birth; in particular 176 grams more. So suggests a study about leptin, a hormone produced mainly by adipocytes (fat cells), in which participated Dr. Manolis Kogevinas, codirector of CREAL, an ISGlobal alliance research centre.

This analysis, published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, included 638 mother-infant pairs in the prospective mother-infant cohort 'Rhea' in Crete (Greece) with singleton pregnancies, providing samples of umbilical cord blood for leptin analysis and data on birth outcomes.

Specifically, excessive weight gain during pregnancy was associated with a threefold increased risk of having high levels of leptin in umbilical cord blood. They also warned that pre-pregnancy overweight is also a risk factor for high levels of leptin.

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Leptin is a hormone heavily involved in the control of energy balance, regulation of body weight, metabolism and endocrine responses to fasting.

CREAL is part of the centres CERCA of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Karakosta P, Georgiou V, Fthenou E, Papadopoulou E, Roumeliotaki T, Margioris A, Castanas E, Kampa M, Kogevinas M, Chatzi L. Maternal weight status, cord blood leptin and fetal growth: a prospective mother-child cohort study (rhea study). Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2013; 27(5): 461-471.


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