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RCOG statement on BMJ study on maternal obesity and risk of heart disease in offspring

News 14 August 2013

A BMJ study published today looks at whether maternal obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular events in adult offspring.

The study included 28,540 women – whose body mass index (BMI) was recorded at their first antenatal visit – and their 37,709 offspring from the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal databank.

It looked at death and hospital admissions for cardiovascular events from 1950 up to 1 January 2012 in offspring aged 34-61.

After adjusting for several factors, the researchers found an increased risk of premature death in the adult offspring of obese mothers.

They also found an increased risk of a hospital admission for a cardiovascular event in the adult offspring of obese mothers compared with offspring of mothers with normal BMI. The offspring of overweight mothers also had a higher risk of adverse events later in life.

Dr Daghni Rajasingam, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) spokesperson, said:

"This is a large scale study and highlights the potential risk factors associated with obesity.

"We know that obesity has a major impact on women's health and this paper highlights the need to prevent obesity in women of childbearing age and encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles through regular moderate physical activity and eating well. This approach should be adopted throughout a woman's life. This life-course approach should also be applied to offspring as this study illustrates.

"If pregnant women are worried about their weight in pregnancy they should talk to their doctor or midwife to discuss their concerns."


For more information view the full study in BMJ online