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Home Industry News Diet during pregnancy ‘can increase child’s diabetes risk’

Diet during pregnancy ‘can increase child’s diabetes risk’

27th May 2011

The diet of a mother during pregnancy can increase her unborn child's risk of developing diabetes later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Illinois have conducted animal tests which reveal that a high-fat diet during pregnancy can modify gene expression in the baby's liver, causing them to overproduce glucose and cause insulin resistance at an early stage.

This trend was observed among subjects eating a 45 percent fat-based diet – which is not unusual for human populations in Western countries – while the effect is not dependent on whether the mother herself is obese or diabetic.

The research could be used to guide dietary advice for expectant mothers in future, while diagnostic tests could also be created to screen newborns that possess this elevated diabetes risk.

Yuan-Xiang Pan, a University of Illinois professor of nutrition, said: "We'd like to see if diet after birth could alleviate this problem that was programmed before birth."

Earlier this week, a British Heart Foundation-funded study showed that treating illnesses related to poor diets costs the NHS as much as conditions stemming from smoking and alcohol combined.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800559992-ADNFCR

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