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High-fat diet during pregnancy programs child for future diabetes
Date:5/25/2011

r predisposition, delaying or even preventing the development of diabetes.

"We'd like to see if diet after birth could alleviate this problem that was programmed before birth," he said.

Although their study points to using epigenetics as a diagnostic tool, Strakovsky stressed the importance of making dietary recommendations for pregnant women more available so they are able to prevent this health problem.

"Obstetrics patients rarely see a dietitian unless they're having medical problems like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. Doctors now tend to focus on how much weight a woman should gain in a healthy pregnancy. Although healthy weight gain is extremely important, nutritional guidance could be invaluable for all pregnant women and their babies," she said.

Pregnant women should consume a balanced diet low in saturated fats, which are usually found in fattier cuts of meat, fast foods, pastries, and desserts. But they should also consume appropriate amounts of healthy fats, including good sources of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, which are important for their baby's brain and neuron development.

Cold-water fish that are low in mercury, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, soybean and cod liver oils, walnuts and winter squash are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs, corn oil, whole-grain bread, poultry, and sunflower seeds and oil provide omega-6 fatty acids.

"Until now we didn't realize that a mother's diet during pregnancy had a long-term effect on the metabolic pathways that affect her child's glucose production," Pan said. "Now that we know this, we urge pregnant women to eat a balanced low-fat diet that follows government guidelines. Then a woman can prime her child for a healthy life instead of future medical struggles."


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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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