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Reproduction. 2010 Sep;140(3):387-98. doi: 10.1530/REP-10-0077. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

Impact of maternal obesity on offspring obesity and cardiometabolic disease risk.

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  • 1Endocrinology Unit, Queen's Medical Research Institute, Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 6TJ, UK.


The prevalence of obesity among pregnant women is increasing. In addition to the short-term complications of obesity during pregnancy in both mother and child, it is now recognised that maternal obesity has long-term adverse outcomes for the health of her offspring in later life. Evidence from both animal and human studies indicates that maternal obesity increases the risk for the offspring in developing obesity and altering body composition in child- and adulthood and, additionally, it also has an impact on the offspring's cardiometabolic health with dysregulation of metabolism including glucose/insulin homoeostasis, and development of hypertension and vascular dysfunction. Potential mechanisms include effects on the development and function of adipose tissue, pancreas, muscle, liver, the vasculature and the brain. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning the programming of disease risk in the offspring as a consequence of maternal obesity. The ultimate aim is to identify potential targets, which may be amenable to prevention or early intervention in order to improve the health of this and future generations.

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