We have all heard the statistics associated with the increases in the number of individuals that are either overweight or obese. In addition, most individuals also understand that being obese increases their personal risk of developing a wide variety of diseases and health disorders, including several types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, diabetes and more.
However, many women may not realize that obesity during their pregnancy can also increase the probability of their children contracting a variety of diseases at a very young age as well – including asthma. In fact, a recent Swedish study indicates that obese mothers have a significantly higher likelihood of birthing a child that will develop asthma when compared to mothers that were of a normal body weight.
Higher Asthma Risk in Toddlers as Mother’s BMI Increases
The study was large and therefore rather conclusive, covering 189,000 children of 129,000 mothers in Stockholm, Sweden.
According to the study, mothers classified as “very obese” (defined as a Body Mass Index equal to or greater than 35) were 61% more likely to have children that would develop asthma by the age of 8, 9 or 10 as compared to women of healthy weight.
Meanwhile, mothers classified simply as “obese” (defined as a BMI between 30 and 34.9) had a 41% increased risk of birthing a baby that would develop asthma. Children born to mothers classified as “overweight” (defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9) were 18% more likely to develop asthma that those born to mothers in the “normal” BMI range, which is 18.5 to 24.9.
The Risks Don’t End with Asthma
According to Adrian Lowe, a researcher from the University of Melbourne and the study’s lead author, said that the health risks imposed upon children of obese mothers reach far beyond asthma. For starters, Lowe said that children of obese and overweight moms are typically hospitalized more frequently and take more medication than those born to moms of a healthy weight.
Lowe also stated that children born to overweight and obese mothers typically have weaker immune systems, are more susceptible to developing various allergies, and are more likely to become obese themselves as they grow up.
The study, which was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was the culmination of a joint effort between Sweden’s Umea University, the University of Melbourne and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Asthma in Toddlers: The Bottom Line
If you plan on having a baby, it’s more important than ever to get in shape and achieve a healthy body weight prior to pregnancy. In addition to protecting yourself from numerous obesity-related diseases and other health ailments, you’ll increase your chances of having a healthy baby who will stay healthy growing up.
Our Weight Loss section is packed with various weight loss strategies that should assist in getting you on the right track to achieving your optimum body weight.