Obese Mothers Give Birth to Babies with Higher Liver Fat

While it has been known that obese mothers give birth to fat babies, new research has shown that children born to obese mothers have high amounts of liver fat. A team of researchers have proved that chubby babies have significant fat in their abdominal area. The researchers belong to the Imperial College London. The study has proved, said Dr. Neena Modi who is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Imperial College and the team leader of the study, that the amount of fat in mothers has a great impact on the fat in the baby’s body, especially the liver. The lead author of the study is also a Consultant Neonatologist in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The results of the study are alarming since high fat level at birth can have harmful repercussions on metabolic activities in the baby for life. Further, the baby is more exposed to risks such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity and all obesity related problems such as high cholesterol level, hypertension and a weal heart. Although these risks are known, not much is known about the biology behind the scenario. For the study, one hundred and five newborn babies were considered. The underlying biology and fat levels in the babies were compared with the BMI of their mothers before conception. Babies were scanned using spectroscopy and proton resonance imaging and the cumulative body fat was measured as was the intrahepatocellular lipid content, which is a measure of fat in the liver. High levels of fats are associated with inefficient sugar breakdown in adults.

The study found that as the mother’s BMI increases by one unit, fat in the liver cells of babies increases by 8.6%. The result was arrived at after adjusting the sex, age after birth and weight of the babies. The increase in fat in the babies’ liver was also found when mother’s BMI increased even within the normal range. The researchers concluded that such amounts of fats in the liver can damage the metabolic function in the baby for life. There is a strong correlation between the health of the baby before and after birth. If a baby has to maintain a healthy BMI after birth, then the process has to begin while in the womb. Following this significant study, the ream of researchers are now focused on finding the optimum BMI for the mother that will ensure that the baby grows up to be a healthy adult with a healthy level of metabolic activity.