CPH Post

Sci/Tech

Prenatal stress may affect children's health

An Aarhus study links severe anxiety during pregnancy to adulthood obesity


Apparently you cannot hide stress from your unborn baby (Photo: Colourbox)

June 17, 2014
14:56

by Alina Shron


High levels of stress during pregnancy may put the unborn child at an increased risk of obesity during adulthood, according to researchers from Aarhus University.

"Overall our results indicate that stress can create a programming of the unborn child that makes it susceptible to putting on weight after birth," explained Lena Hohwü from the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University in a press release.

"So even though we still have a lot of research to do in this area, we have added a little piece to our understanding of why we are experiencing an obesity epidemic in which one in five children in Denmark is overweight, and in which most of them will remain overweight as adults."

Severe risk from severe stress
As an indicator of severe stress, the researchers focused on women who had experienced the death of a close relative immediately before or during the pregnancy and then followed their male children until early adulthood.

Though the risk of obesity was mediated by the children’s relationship with their mother, the sons of women who had lost their husband around the time of pregnancy were twice as likely to develop obesity.

Further investigations will take into account more frequent and less severe stress conditions such as divorce.

Previous studies had linked the weight problems of 10 to 13-year-old children to severe stress experienced by their mothers during pregnancy. The new correlation suggests that the risk of obesity might extend into adulthood.



Related stories



Latest Comments

"Most bomb-threat sentences fall somewhere between 20 and 30 days and are...

(Buzzy Sørensen on November 25, 2014 00:59)

Go to South Park's site and search for the Scientology episode. Plus this...

(William Harvey on November 24, 2014 21:57)

Dear Mrs. Steffensen! I think you showed Her Majesty proper respect by...

(Jens Rost on November 24, 2014 21:55)

Not sure why this is news if there is no change in status since 2001?

(Bill Jones on November 24, 2014 21:11)

I have a question, these women who walk around dressed in these black sheets,...

(Jon Paris King on November 24, 2014 21:04)

Denmark pilots, you are not alone as we the Romanians were. We are with you,...

(Florin Rusu on November 24, 2014 18:27)

Danish is going the way off Latin, its soon to be a dead language plus or...

(Tom Therkelsen on November 24, 2014 18:18)

Speaking of free speech, the Swedish way, how about this one?...

(Jens Rost on November 24, 2014 18:17)

So true (:

(Alexandra Tor Del Rey on November 24, 2014 15:15)

An honest and clear analysis

(Julian Cohen-Serrins on November 24, 2014 04:09)