Gestational Diabetes Diet High In Refined Grain Raises Child’s Obesity Risk

In a recent study, children had an increased risk of obesity by age seven if their mothers had gestational diabetes (GD) and ate a diet high in refined grains while pregnant with them.

These findings from a National Institutes of Health study were published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Refined grains are those that have been substantially modified from their natural composition. The refining process removes the grain’s bran, a protective outer layer that is rich in fiber and protein, and removes the grain's germ—a repository of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. What remains is the kernel’s starchy inner core used to make white bread, and other white flour products.

Gestational diabetes, which affects about five percent of pregnant women in the U.S., is a condition characterized by high blood sugar during pregnancy. Unchecked, GD can create health problems for both mother and baby.

The researchers reached their conclusions by comparing the records of 918 mother-child pairs who were part of a large Danish pregnancy study. They discovered that kids - born to women with GD who ate over 156 grams of refined grain per day - were twice as likely to be obese by age seven than children of women with GD who consumed fewer than 37 grams of refined grain per day.

Study results persisted after researchers controlled for other factors that might influence the children’s weight, such as fruit, vegetable, and sweets intake, and their level of physical activity.

This research was part of the Diabetes & Women’s Health Study, a project led by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of child Health and Human Development.

Sources: Science Daily; Nutrition Crash Course

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