Study: Children of obese parents at risk for developmental delays

Scientists cited research indicating that about 1 in 5 pregnant women in the United States is overweight or obese

Healthcare, Medical Generic

NEW YORK (WKBN) – Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that children born to extremely obese couples are more likely to fail tests of problem solving abilities.

Children of obese mothers were found to be more likely to fail tests of fine motor skills and those born to obese fathers were more likely to fail measures of social competence.

In the study, authors reviewed data from the Upstate KIDS study. More than 5,000 women enrolled and completed a questionnaire after performing a series of activities with their children between 2008 and 2010.

One of the authors said that previous studies in the New York area only focused on mothers, but their research is one of a few that studies fathers and their influence on children as well. Mothers also filled out information about their weight and height before and after pregnancy, and the weight of their partners.

Children in the study were tested at four months old and retested six more times through the age of three.

The study found that children with two obese parents were nearly three times more likely to fail the test’s problem solving section by age three.

Compared to children of normal-weight mothers, children of obese mothers were nearly 70 percent more likely to have failed the test indicator on fine motor skills.

Children of obese fathers were 75 percent more likely to fail the test’s social competence section.

The authors could not find a reason why parental obesity might increase children’s risk for developmental delay, though.

They noted that some studies indicated obesity could affect the fetal brain through inflammation or the expression of genes in sperm.

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