New Study Suggests Children Born After Mom’s Weight Loss Surgery Have Healthier Genes
There are many health and psychological benefits of weight loss surgery for obese moms, but a new study shows that there might also be benefits passed to future children of surgery recipients.
In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that children born to mothers who had gastric bypass surgery had genetic differences from their siblings who were born before the mother had the procedure. Researchers looked at the genes of 50 children who were born to 20 mothers before or after they had gastric bypass surgery. The mothers were between the ages of 35 and 51, and were all classified as obese before they had biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (commonly known as lap-band) procedures. They all lost almost 100 pounds after the surgery.
According to study author Marie-Claude Vohl of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, "Maternal obesity is imprinting a type of mark that is put on the DNA of the children and that can then impact their gene expression, increasing the risk of chronic disease."
Specifically, the genetic improvements found in the children whose mothers had the surgery were in areas of heart and inflammatory health, as well insulin resistance. In addition, these children had smaller waists, smaller hip girth, better fasting insulin levels, and lower blood pressure.
Researchers discovered that 5,698 genes in children born after their moms had the procedure were expressed differently from their siblings who were born while their mother was obese. The changes suggest that the children born after would have better health.
Laval University researchers want to do further studies with more mothers, and to track the children to middle age to see if they experience different rates of developing chronic illness.
Vohl says, "It's too early to do anything, but this study shows that a weight management program is important for a woman that wants to become pregnant."