Overweight baby girls at increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, says new researchOverweight babies suffer later problems with metabolism17-year-olds with big waist were generally heavier from birth

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UPDATED:

06:57 GMT, 30 March 2012

Obesity link found: Researchers say they have found a link between overweight baby girls and overweight teenagers

Obesity link found: Researchers say they have found a link between overweight baby girls and overweight teenagers

Obese baby girls are at increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes when they grow up, new research suggests.

The study of 1,053 17-year-old girls also shows that they may also be more likely to suffer problems with their metabolism if they were overweight as a baby.

Scientists from the University of Western Australia tracked the research participants on eight occasions between the ages of one and 17 years of age.

Measurements including weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure and cholesterol levels were taken, reports the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Researchers found that the 17-year-old girls with the greater waist circumference were also heavier from birth, with consistently higher BMI measurements.

In contrast, birth weight had no statistical impact on metabolic risk factors in males.

Dr Rae-Chi Huang said: “What happens to a baby in the womb affects future heart disease and diabetes risk when the child grows up.

“We found that female babies are particularly prone to this increased risk and females who are at high risk of obesity and diabetes-related conditions at age 17 are showing increased obesity as early as 12 months of age.

“These findings are significant because in our modern western society, we are seeing increased maternal obesity and gestational diabetes, which means there will also be a rise in female newborns that are born large for their age.

“Our results can be applied to public health messages targeting both maternal health and measures in early infancy regarding the prevention of childhood obesity and its consequences.”