-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to mothers who
have had weight-loss surgery and lost a large amount of weight may
have better heart health than their brothers or sisters who were
born before their mothers lost the excess weight, a new study
This is likely because the weight loss and metabolic changes
experienced by women after weight-loss surgery have a positive
effect on inflammatory-disease-related genes in their children,
said researchers from Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.
The researchers analyzed DNA in blood samples from 50 children
born to 20 mothers; half the children were born before the mothers
had weight-loss surgery and half were born after. The children
ranged in age from 2 to 24 years when the blood samples were
The mothers' average body-mass index (a measure of body fat
based on height and weight) was 45 before weight-loss surgery and
27 after the surgery. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered
The DNA analysis revealed that the mother's weight at the time
of birth influences whether certain genes are switched on or off in
their children, which affects the children's future risk of obesity
and cardiovascular disease.
The study was scheduled to be presented Monday at the Canadian
Cardiovascular Congress, which is co-hosted by the Canadian
Cardiovascular Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of
"We know our genetic makeup influences our children's risks -- but so can our environment," foundation spokeswoman Dr. Beth Abramson said in a news release.
"For example, if a disease runs in a family, we know to watch out for it in the children as they age," Abramson said. "This study shows that external factors also influence our risk for heart disease -- and that of our offspring -- by switching genes on or off in our DNA, providing a glimpse as to why this occurs. This is why lifestyle behaviors are so important."
The findings are another reminder about whey people need to
manage and control their weight at all stages of life, she
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data
and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in
a peer-reviewed journal. And although the study showed an
association between a mother's weight and her children's heart
health, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The March of Dimes outlines the potential
pregnancy complicationsassociated with being
overweight or obese.
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