While childhood obesity still remains a major global heath issue, new researchers and studies are trying to help find new ways to prevent and treat it.
A new Canadian study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, seems to do just that, revealing how weight loss surgeries in mothers may help prevent their children from suffering from childhood obesity.
The fact that mothers and children share their chances of getting obese is well-known, and now this provocative, one-of-a-kind study may help shed light on different ways to break the unhealthy and dangerous cycle.
A team of Canadian researchers, led by Dr. Marie-Claude Vohl of Laval University in Quebec City, found out that children born to their mothers after the mother underwent a weight loss surgery were much more slimmer than their siblings born before the surgery. Blood samples were collected from 20 kids born to women before and after the weight loss surgery, and compared the chemical tags in above a good 5,600 genes between the siblings born before and after the surgery.
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that there were prominent differences in the gene activity of those clustered in different pathways that affect the blood sugar metabolism of the body, and play a role in heart disease.
These activities may further affect 'dimmer switches' that determine whether a particular gene turns off or on, which further affects metabolism, thus playing a pivotal role in determining obesity.
"(This study is) a very clever way of looking at this," Dr. Susan Murphy of Duke University, said.
Obese mothers tend to have high blood sugar levels, which ultimately travels to the baby in the womb, which could overstimulate the growth of the fetus, and regulate the chemical 'switches.'
"The impact on the genes, you will see the impact for the rest of your life," Vohl said.
Though healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes may help cut down the risk of childhood obesity, the mother's surgery too, may add to the benefits.
'(Obesity) is not just impacting your life, it's impacting your child,' Dr. Murphy explained. The study further revealed that only a few women decide to take the step of having a gastric bypass surgery before pregnancy.