Low Birth Weight Infants and Obesity – The Relation
Obesity is a vice which has far greater consequences than can be ordinarily perceived. In the United States, each year around 350,000 individuals die due to obesity related diseases. More than 60% of Americans are overweight and more than 1 in 5 are obese. The prognosis of obesity are grim and the list of co-morbid conditions associated with obesity are endless. Let us look at the research report carried on low birth weight infants and obesity.
Low Birth Weight Infants and Obesity – The Research Study
A study published in the journal Brain Research found that low birth weight of infants could be linked to obesity later on in life. It was found that a nutritionally deprived new born is genetically predisposed to eat more. This is because they are born with less neurons in the region of the brain that is responsible for food intake.
The study was conducted at the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center(LA BioMed). The objective of the study was to establish that the tendency to overeat is programmed at the stem cell level when the baby is in the womb of a malnourished mother.
The study emphasized the importance of maternal nutrition and maternal health in reducing obesity later on. Dr. Mina Desai, the chief investigator of the conducted study opined that obesity is the greatest menace in our society today. Numerous deaths could be linked to it. The finding of the study linking low birth weight infants and obesity is because of poor maternal nutrition and this could be the biggest breakthrough in obesity prevention strategies.
The study used animal models to prove its hypothesis. It was found that there was far less cell division and differentiation in the neurons of the stem cells in an infant with low birth weight especially when compared to someone with normal weight. It is a normal finding that small sized infants generally have an accelerated rate of growth as far as weight is concerned. This is often associated with childhood obesity and the co-morbidities associated with obesity like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus etc.
Hence, it is imperative to focus on maternal nutrition during pregnancy so that the risks of low birth weight infants and obesity knocking the door could be lowered.