It is now a known fact that the mum’s health affects the unborn child’s health during and after deliver, continuing through the child’s
life. It has been recently found, through a scientific study, that even before conception, if a woman is overweight,
obese, or generally eats an unhealthy diet, high in fat and sugar, metabolic problems are certain to be passed on to future children through
the bloodline, for at least three generations. The offspring will have increased risks of having obesity-related conditions, including Type
II Diabetes and heart problems.
Senior author, Kelle H. Moley, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University in St. Louis, MO in the United States,
has stated, “Our findings indicate that a mother’s obesity can impair the health of later generations. This is particularly important
because more than two-thirds of reproductive-age women in the United States are overweight or obese.”
The study has shown that the mum’s obesity, along with metabolic problems that are linked to it, can be inherited through mitochondrial DNA,
that is present in the unfertilised egg. Because mitochondria supply energy for metabolism and other biochemical processes, they are often
called the powerhouses of cells. They have their own sets of genes that are inherited, not from fathers, but only from mothers.
“Our data are the first to show that pregnant mouse mothers with metabolic syndrome can transmit dysfunctional mitochondria through the
female bloodline to three generations,” Moley says. “Importantly, our study indicates oocytes—or mothers’ eggs—may carry information that
programs mitochondrial dysfunction throughout the entire organism.”
A scientific study that was published in the journal entitled “Cell Reports”, lab mice were fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet that
mimics Western diet, which consists of 60% fat and 20% sugar. Even though the pups, and their offspring, and their offspring’s offspring
were fed a healthy diet that is high in protein, and low in fat and sugar, they developed insulin resistance, and other metabolic
complications. Abnormal mitochondria were seen in the muscular and skeletal tissue of the mice. For humans, whose children
normally has the same diet as the mums, the effect is even greater.
Researches are still underway to determine whether or not a consistent low-fat, low-sugar diet, coupled with regular exercise, may reverse
this abnormality in the genetic metabolism.
According to Moley, “In any case, eating nutritiously is critica. Over the decades, our diets have worsened, in large part due to processed
foods and fast foods. We’re seeing the effects in the current obesity crisis. Research, including this study, points to poor maternal
nutrition and a predisposition to obesity.”