Speaker: Obesity, health problems can begin in the womb

Published: December 01, 2020

By Emma Johnson

for the Daily News

“Has your doctor asked you how much you weighed at birth? Were
you born prematurely?” Dr. Barbara Luke, Sc.D., M.P.H., RD, a
professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
asked the audience Nov. 16 at MidMichigan Medical Center in

Luke spoke as part of the Health Lecture Series. Her lecture,
“Women, Obesity and the Therapeutic Effect of Diet,” is the second
in a series of four lectures.

She said factors from past and present can effect a person’s
future. Luke discussed obesity as an epidemic and how chances of
becoming over weight and developing health problems begins in the

Factors include: Your genetic heritage and environmental
heritage in fetal development and early childhood; your current
nutrition, exercise and lifestyle; age at menarche; reproductive
history; and age at menopause.

Obesity for Americans over age 20 has more than doubled from
1962 to 2008. The number of overweight adults has gone from 31.6
percent to 68 percent. The number of obese adults rose from 13.4
percent to 33.8 percent.

Being overweight greatly increases the risk of developing a
number of health problems, including coronary heart disease, type 2
diabetes and hypertension.

Women who are overweight and become pregnant are at risk

* Gestational diabetes, which poses a 30 percent increased risk
of developing type 2 diabetes.

* Preeclampsia, which poses a 90 percent increased risk of

* Low birthweight, which poses a seven to elevenfold risk of
death from cardiovascular disease.

* Preterm delivery, which poses a twofold risk of cardiovascular

“Part of it to blame is the food pyramid,” Luke said. The old
USDA pyramid was founded on bread and refined carbohydrates. But
the new charts have improved, allotting more room to fruits and
vegetables. Luke would also like to see water, sleep and exercise
included. “I never see water on those pyramids,” she said. “I put
it on the bottom.” Luke also has her top 25 foods that she
recommends. At the top of the list is broccoli. “Broccoli has just
about everything in it,” she said.

If a woman is poor and struggles to get enough nutrition while
she is pregnant, it effects fetal development. When the fetus is
growth restricted it increases the risk of obesity after birth when
the baby gets older. The fetus becomes very efficient with
metabolism to ensure every calorie it gets goes as far as it can in
its fight for survival; later on the person will have a slow
metabolism as the body tries to maximize every calorie. This can
lead to obesity. Restricting weight gain in pregnancy was common
doctors’ advice in the 1970s, but now we know better.

With twins, sometimes the babies are the same weight, but other
times one is big and one is small. The smaller of the two will be
overweight and shorter compared with the other twin. “The body is
taking every calorie and making it work,” Luke said.

The babies of women who did not gain adequately during pregnancy
have fewer cell numbers. The brain is spared, but most other organs
are smaller.

The fat cell number stops at adolescence. “If you were
overweight then, then it explains now,” Luke said.

“Health begins in the womb,” Luke said. “Obesity, cancer and
heart attacks - your odds are set before you’re born.”

Babies ideally will be born between 7 or 8 pounds; more than
that is OK, too. But if a baby weights 5.5 pounds or under Luke
said “there was adaptation.”

“Children that are breastfed tend to be taller and healthier,”
Luke said. And it’s therapeutic for the baby and the mother. It
also lowers the mother’s chances of developing breast cancer.

Sleep is also important for children to develop. In war-torn
areas with bombs going off, it makes it hard for children to feel
safe going to sleep. “They’re not sleeping, so they’re not
growing,” she said. “I worry.”

Eating foods that rate low on the glycemic index of foods is
good for your health. “The healthiest way to eat is like a
diabetic,” Luke said.

If you’re eating something higher or equal to 100 percent,
that’s worse than eating pure sugar, according to Luke. Bagels,
white bread, Total and Cheerios are examples. “These are very
processed carbohydrates,” she said. “The best foods are glycemic
indexed under 50,” Luke said. “Oatmeal. It’s a wonderful way to
start the day,” she said.

“Make healthy habits your way of life,” she said.

The lecture series is sponsored by the MSU College of Human
Medicine, MidMichigan Health and Saginaw Valley State University.
Lectures are free and open to the public.

Article source: http://www.ourmidland.com/story_prep/article_7085fe33-6a91-58e6-b314-2e2e1c82120a.html

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Published December 01, 2020 by in news

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