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article imageHigh birth weight may signal later health risks

By Tim Sandle     May 26, 2014 in Health
New research suggests that being born big may mean a higher lifetime risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other ill-health conditions.
While it has been established that being too small at birth carries health risks later in life, researchers are also finding that high birth weight comes with risks of late rill health. In both cases, the birth weight of a baby reflects how well it was nourished in the womb and the risk of chronic disease in later life.
A new study suggests that babies that are 9 pounds or larger face an increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer in later life. This is thought to relate to factors at play in the womb where too much nutrition leads to genetic changes, organ development and insulin production.
The study traces the change to average birth weights from the 1940sto the present day and correlates the weights with the development of certain diseases.
There are other risk factors with high birth weight. High birth weight sometimes means that the baby needs to be delivered early. However, the baby may not be sufficiently well developed, which can lead to problems such as breathing difficulties or jaundice.
As to what causes high birth weight? The causes for babies with the highest birth weights can often be traced to gestational diabetes or obesity, whereas many babies with “somewhat high” birth weights (within the normal range) are unrelated to these issues, according to nutritionist Keren Perles.
The new research has been published in the journal Science News, in an article titled “Big babies: High birthweight might signal health risks later in life”.
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