Expectant moms are warned to keep track of their diet during pregnancy.
Researchers in the US found that those who consumed “ultra-processed foods” were more likely to have children who obese.
This, the experts said, was regardless of other lifestyle risk factors they might have.
Ultra-processed foods refers to meals and snacks such as ice cream, cookies, fizzy drinks, chips, and even instant soups.
Writing in the BMJthe experts looked at data from more than 200,000 mothers and their children.
Participants recorded what they ate and drank, using a Health questionnaire and the offspring were also checked.
Doctors also looked at a range of other potentially influential factors, which are known to be highly correlated with childhood obesity.
It also included children’s ultra-processed food consumption, physical activity, and sedentary time.
A total of 2,471 (12 percent) children developed overweight or obesity during an average follow-up period of four years.
The results of the paper found that these foods were linked to an increased risk of being overweight or obese in the offspring.
A 26 percent higher risk was seen in the group with the highest maternal ultra-processed food consumption.
High consumption was 12.1 servings per day versus the lowest consumption group, which was 3.4 servings per day.
The researchers noted that this is an observational study and there may be issues with food self-reporting.
They added that the data set “supports the importance of refining dietary recommendations and developing programs to improve nutrition for women of childbearing age to promote the health of the offspring.”
dr. Duane Mellor, registered dietitian and Senior Teaching Fellow, Aston Medical School, Aston University said the study provides no evidence of causality.
It is also important to note that the mother’s food intake at other times in the child’s life was not included in the analysis, and the other parent’s food intake was not taken into account at any time (only their income ).
“While this does not change the important public health messages for families to eat all healthy and varied foods, based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds and whole grains with moderate amounts of meat (or alternatives) and dairy.
“It shows no more than an association between maternal intake of ultra-processed foods during pregnancy and child weight gain, and more detail is needed from the shared family diet to see if it is an effect of diet during pregnancy.” pregnancy or the family diet in general, which is most important with regard to healthy weight gain and growth.”