HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Study: Refined grains during pregnancy linked to increased obesity in kids

Children born to women with gestational diabetes and who had diets high in refined grains have a higher risk of obesity, according to a new study.

The National Institutes of Health study found those children had a higher risk of obesity by age 7 compared to children born to women with gestational diabetes but who ate low proportions of refined grains.

Refined grains have gone through a process that removes the bran and germ, which, as a result, removes dietary fiber, iron and many vitamins. Examples of refined grain products are white flour, white bread and white rice.

Gestational diabetes (high blood-sugar during pregnancy) can lead to health problems for mother and newborns.

The researchers for this study found that children born to women with gestational diabetes who consumed more than 156 grams of refined grains per day were twice as likely to be obese at age 7 compared to children whose mothers had gestational diabetes but ate less than 37 grams of refined grains per day.

The link between grain consumption during pregnancy and obesity remained when researchers controlled for other factors, such as physical activity level and consumption of fruits, vegetables and sweets.

Previous studies have linked diets high in refined grains to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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