Eating a high-fat diet during pregnancy can have adverse effects on kid’s mental health, with an increased risk of developing mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. A new study has shed light on this fact. Earlier reports also stated that obesity during pregnancy can also increase the risk of asthma in children. The findings of the report show that an unhealthy diet not only affects the weight of the mother but also affects the child’s mental development. The inadequate diet during pregnancy hampers the endocrine system of the child and cause long-lasting mental problems.
"Given the high level of dietary fat consumption and maternal obesity in developed nations, these findings have important implications for the mental health of future generations," said Elinor Sullivan, assistant professor at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in the US.
Additionally, too much exposure to high-fat diet during pregnancy and impair the development of neurons containing serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for development of brain.
On the other hand, introducing the child to a healthy diet at an early age also failed to reverse the effect, the researchers said.
"It's not about blaming the mother," but "about educating pregnant women about the potential risks of a high-fat diet in pregnancy and empowering them and their families to make healthy choices by providing support. We also need to craft public policies that promote healthy lifestyles and diets," Sullivan noted.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, the team tested the effect of a maternal high-fat diet on non-human primates, tightly controlling their diet in a way that would be impossible in a human population.
Researchers grouped a total of 65 female Japanese macaques into two groups, one given a high-fat diet and one a control diet during pregnancy.
They then measured and compared the anxiety-like behaviour among 135 babies and found that both females and males who were exposed to high-fat diet during pregnancy showed greater chances of anxiety and mental disorders as compared to other group.
(With IANS Inputs)
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