July 6, 2012

Add Health study: Being overweight years before pregnancy linked to bigger babies

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, UNC researchers have found that women who are overweight or obese years before becoming pregnant deliver babies with a higher birth weight, putting the next generation at a higher risk of obesity-related health outcomes.

Read the Health Behavior News Service story here: Being Overweight Years before Pregnancy Linked to Bigger Babies (by Christen Brownlee, released on June 26, 2012)

Excerpt: “Women who become overweight or obese during the transition from adolescence to adulthood are significantly more likely to give birth to babies with excessive birth weights, according to a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers know that a woman’s health during pregnancy can have a potent effect on the health of her baby, explain study authors Kelly Strutz, M.P.H., Liana Richardson, Ph.D., and Jon Hussey, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. However, says Strutz, little research has examined the effects of a mother’s health long before she becomes pregnant on the future health of her babies. The few studies that exist mainly look at the mother’s health immediately preceding conception.”

Kelly L. Strutz is a Ph.D. candidate in UNC’s Maternal and Child Health department and is a Carolina Population Center predoctoral trainee. Liana J. Richardson is an Assistant Professor in UNC’s Sociology department. Jon M. Hussey is a Research Assistant Professor in UNC’s Maternal and Child Health department. Richardson and Hussey are Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellows.

Scholarly source: Kelly L. Strutz, M.P.H., Liana J. Richardson, Ph.D., and Jon M. Hussey, Ph.D. (2012). Preconception Health Trajectories and Birth Weight in a National Prospective Cohort. Journal of Adolescent Health.