Overhauling your diet during pregnancy could lead to healthier kids

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Obese pregnant women should overhaul their lifestyle to ensure their children have long-term health benefits, a new study has discovered.

The team of experts from King’s College London, and supported by the British Heart Foundation and Tommy’s charity, found that overweight women could positively influence the health of their unborn child just by changing their diet and upping their exercise.

The randomised controlled trial focused on pregnant female participants in the U.K., who were split into two groups – one was given diet and exercise intervention, while the other made no changes to their lifestyle while expecting.

When the team conducted follow-up examinations three years after the women gave birth, the babies whose mothers had overhauled their diet and exercise had a lower resting heart rate than those whose mothers did not change their lifestyle.

The study also showed that the mothers who had an intervention during the study maintained a healthier diet three years later.

Lead author Kathryn Dalrymple was overjoyed at the findings, and hopes that health professionals will use the research to help obese pregnant women give their unborn child the best start in life.

“These findings are very exciting as they add to the evidence that pregnancy is a window of opportunity to promote positive health and lifestyle changes which benefit the mother and her child,” she explained.

Researchers will follow-up these children again at eight to 10 years of age to see if this improvement in cardiovascular health is maintained.

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