The study was undertaken at Tufts University and the findings were published
in the Journal of Perinatology. The research suggests that babies born to mothers assessed as obese have unusually low iron levels, in addition to some other health issues.
According to the University’s research brief
, for the study, the researchers enrolled 15 women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 and a control group of 15 women with a BMI of between 20 and 25. The assessment was made at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.
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notes that the study found that obese women have elevated amounts of a hormone called hepcidin, which is important for balancing iron levels. This meant that the efficient transfer of the mineral between mother and child was blocked.
Iron plays an important role in the formation of the central nervous system. This means that children born with iron deficiency are at a greater risk for delays in motor and cognitive development.
The lead scientist Sarbattama Sen, a neonatologist at Tufts Medical Center, is quoted
by Food product Design as saying: "During pregnancy, women should try to eat a varied, healthy diet while taking the standard prenatal vitamins recommended by their doctors."
Such a diet can help off-set some of the problems of obesity.