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Study Links Socio-Economic Deprivation to Maternal Obesity

Pregnant women from economically disadvantaged background are likely to become obese, says a study that linked socio-economic deprivation to maternal obesity.//

Women who were young, single and in education, or who were older, separated, divorced, widowed or participating in education were found to have significantly lower rates of obesity, according to the study that looked into 36.821 women at maternity, reported online edition of health portal News Medical.

Nicola Heslehurst from the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Teesside and other researchers found that the incidence of maternal obesity at the start of pregnancy is increasing and accelerating.

Maternal obesity has increased from 9.9 percent in 1990 to 16 percent in 2004. If this trend continues, by 2010, 22 percent of pregnant women will be obese, thus putting a strain on maternity services, the researchers predict.

"The trends we have identified are from a primarily deprived population with limited ethnic diversity. There is an absence of national data on obesity in pregnancy so we are currently recruiting maternity units to identify the trends throughout England,” the researchers said.

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