An NIH study suggests pregnancy diets with high amount of refined grains pose obesity risks in the child by the age of 7

an nih study suggests pregnancy diets

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that children born to women, who had gestational diabetes and included large amount of refined grains in their diet, are at a greater risk of obesity by the age of 7 as compared to the children born to women, who have gestational diabetes, but consumed relatively low amounts of refined grains.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was a part of ‘Diabetes and Women’s Health Study’ research conducted by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Known to cause health hazards to both mother and the child, gestational diabetes or high blood sugar levels in pregnant women affect about 5% of all the pregnancies across the US. However, past studies also associated highly refined grain diets with the obesity, diabetes (type-2) and heart problems.

In the study, the researchers analyzed 918 pairs of mother and children, who participated in Danish National Birth Cohort as the sample. Researchers found that when pregnant women with gestational diabetes consumed more than 156 grams of refined grains every day, the born children are likely to get obese by the time they attain the age of 7 as compared to the children born to the mothers with gestational diabetes, who consumed less than 37 grams of refined grains on a daily basis.


The study also indicated that controlling the potential weight-influencing factors, such as physical activities along with the consumption of fruits, vegetables and sweets weren’t able to control the child obesity, persisted by the correlation between the refined grain consumption by mothers and child obesity by the age 7. The researchers further express the need of more such studies for the confirmation of the results and also, to find the risks of obesity during later phases of life, including childhood, adolescence and adulthood.