Weighing in on weight loss

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: November 27th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If a mother is overweight, it stands to reason that her child is more likely to be overweight, too. Multiple factors could contribute to this, from the eating habits practiced at home to genetic make-up.

However, a new study suggests that moms looking to break this cycle can do so by undergoing weight loss surgery before becoming pregnant. The findings prompted the researchers to conclude the environment inside the uterus may be more important than genes or the child’s environment when it comes to some cases of obesity.

Researchers studied forty-nine mothers who had undergone a type of weight-loss surgery known as biliopancreatic [billy-O-pan-cree-attic] diversion. This means the women’s stomachs have been altered to make them smaller. The surgery also directs food to bypass part of the small intestine, so fewer calories are absorbed.

All the mothers in the study had given birth to children both before and after the surgery. The researchers found that of the one-hundred-and-eleven children between the ages of two-and-a-half and twenty-five, those born after the surgery had reduced birth weight and waist circumference. They were also three times less likely to become obese and had healthier cardiovascular systems, including lower cholesterol and reduced insulin resistance.

Of course, surgery is not the only way to lose weight and become prepared to be a healthy mother. Moms-to-be can also drop pounds the old-fashioned way, by eating less and exercising more. In the process, they just might be creating healthy patterns that will help them… and their children… for many years to come.