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Mom's obesity during conception phase may set the stage for offspring's obesity risk

were weaned from the surrogate mother at 21 days after birth and fed (by giving unlimited access to) either a normal diet or a high-fat diet. The pups' body weight, body composition and other factors were analyzed for 130 days. At day 130 additional samples were taken and analyzed, to include organ weights, glucose and triglyceride levels, fat cell size, body composition and hormones.

Key Findings

The researchers found the following:

  • at birth, the weight of the offspring from both groups was similar. The number and size of pups and the ratio of males to females did not differ significantly.

  • the amount of calories the pups consumed (relative to their body-weight) at the 60- and 120-day mark suggested that both groups consumed the same amount of calories, indicating no effect of maternal obesity on the offspring's food intake.

  • when both the lean and obese offspring were fed a control diet, their body weights remained similar. However, when both groups were fed a high-fat diet, the obese offspring gained remarkably more weight, suggesting that exposure to maternal obesity led to programming of increased susceptibility to obesity in the offspring, which was revealed following an obesegenic challenge despite a normal birth weight.

  • when both groups were fed a control diet, obese offspring had a ~ 1.6 times greater fat ratio compared to their lean offspring counterparts. Further, obese offspring fed a high-fat diet had a 26 percent greater percent fat ratio and a 60 percent increase in subcutaneous fat mass vs. lean offspring.

  • high fat feeding significantly increased serum glucose, triglyceride, insulin and leptin levels in both groups. Strikingly, the serum insulin and leptin levels increased by 2.2 and 2.3 fold in obese offspring compared to lean offspring fed the same diet.


These findings add to th

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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