Maternal obesity may affect biological age of children

Maternal obesity may affect biological age of children

London, Oct 18 (IANS) Higher body mass index (BMI) in women before pregnancy can lead to shorter telomere length — a biomarker for biological age — in their newborns, according to a study.

Telomeres are structures at the ends of chromosomes which are vital in maintaining the stability of a person’s genome as they protect chromosomes from degradation.

“Compared with newborns of mothers with a normal BMI, newborns of women with obesity are older on a molecular level, because shortened telomere lengths mean that their cells have shorter lifespans,” said Tim Nawrot, Professor at Hasselt University in Belgium.

Telomere length, which is measured by the number of DNA base pairs they occupy, is directly linked to the number of times a cell can divide in its lifetime.

Thus, longer telomeres allow cells to divide more often, providing a link between telomere length and biological age.

Telomere length in adults has been associated with age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and increased mortality.

In the study, the research team found that for each one-point increase in the mothers’ BMI, telomeres in the babies were about 50 base pairs shorter.

According to the researchers, this 50 base pair shortening of telomere length is equivalent to the length that people normally lose in 1.1 – 1.6 years of adult life, which may increase the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood.

“Our results add to the growing body of evidence that high maternal BMI impacts foetal programming, which could lead to altered foetal development and later life diseases,” Nawrot said.

“So maintaining a healthy BMI during a woman’s reproductive age may promote molecular longevity in the offspring,” he added.

For the study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, the team involved 743 mothers, who were 17 to 44 years of age, and their newborn babies.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of www.mangalorean.com or any employee thereof. www.mangalorean.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of www.mangalorean.com to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at  info@mangalorean.com. Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here