How big is your mother? Like it or not, you’ll tend to be the same size.
A new study has found that the BMI of mothers has a strong bearing on their children’s weight as an adult.
The study was done in Pelotas, Brazil, and it is quite reliable because it assessed a large number of people. Thousands of women were measured for BMI in 1982 just before they got pregnant. Then 4,973 of their children — both males and females — were measured for BMI and waist-to-height ratio in 2004-2005, when they were 23 years old.
Women in the original group were divided into four categories: Underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. Their children at age 23, for the most part, fell into the same categories as their mothers.
Researchers concluded there was a direct association between women’s pre-pregnancy BMI and the weight of their offspring.
“The study tells us that part of the association may be due to genetic factors, however, environmental factors and current lifestyle of children also contribute to the association,” Ana Lilia Lozada Tequeanes, one of the authors of the study, told Metro. She is a researcher at the Center for Nutrition and Health at the National Institute for Public Health in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
For each unit of maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, the offspring’s BMI increased as well. This finding is consistent with other, similar studies that have been done in other parts of the world.
Lozada Tequeanes says that when trying to curb obesity in society, decision-makers need to target early factors that predispose people to obesity.
The study was first published online in the Feb. 11, 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.