It is a commonly held belief that low birth weight results in obesity later and here is some scientific evidence to supports this. A recent research undertaken by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) claims that nutritionally deprived newborns are ‘programmed’ to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake. It was suggested that overeating is programmed at the level of stem cells before birth when the mother has poor or inadequate nutrition.
While analyzing an animal model, experts compared less division and differentiation of the neural stem cells of a newborn with low birth weight to normal birth weight. Investigations have already asserted that a small size at birth followed by accelerated ‘catch-up’ growth is correlated with a heightened threat of adult obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis. Experts also noted altered brain development in neural stem cells.
“This study demonstrates the importance of maternal nutrition and health in reducing obesity,” shared Dr. Mina Desai, an LA BioMed principal investigator. “Obesity and its related diseases are the leading cause of death in our society, yet we have few effective strategies for prevention or treatment. These studies suggest maternal nutrition could play a critical role in preventing obesity and related disease.”
It was concluded that fetal growth restriction may be linked with cognitive and/or behavioral modifications. The research also opens doors to potential opportunities for prevention and treatment of obesity as well as other related disorders.
The research is published in the journal, Brain Research.