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Why obese mothers may be giving their newborns heart disease

By David Silverberg     Mar 4, 2013 in Health
A new study revealed obese and overweight mothers may be unknowingly giving their babies heart disease. Researchers found arterial thickening of these babies' hearts.
The walls of the the aorta are already thickened in babies born to mothers who are overweight or obese, according to a small study published online in the Fetal and Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease of Childhood.
This evidence "may explain how overweight/obese mums could boost their children's subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease, suggest the authors, who point out that more than half of women of childbearing age in developed countries are overweight or obese," as a press release explains.
Australian scientists looked at 23 women whose body mass index (BMI) ranged from normal to morbidly obese early in pregnancy. When their babies were seven days old they scanned the newborns' abdominal aortas, the section of the artery running down to the belly.
The thickness of the innermost walls of the artery ranged from 0.65mm to 0.97mm and increased with the mother's weight, irrespective of the size of the baby itself, as The Australian writes.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said that the findings should be worrisome.
"Babies are starting to have a pretty rough existence before they're born because of the weight of their mothers," he said.
Earlier this month, in the U.S. a bill that would require newborn screenings for congenital heart defects passed its first hurdle in the Legislature.
More about Heart disease, Obesity, Obese, Mothers, Newborns