THURSDAY, Oct. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Maternal consumption of ultraprocessed food during the childrearing period is associated with an increased risk for overweight or obesity in offspring, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in The BMJ.

Yiqing Wang, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed whether maternal ultraprocessed food intake during peripregnancy and during the childrearing period is associated with offspring risk for overweight or obesity during childhood and adolescence. The analysis included 19,958 mother-child pairs.

The researchers found that after adjusting for established maternal risk factors and offspring ultraprocessed food intake, physical activity, and sedentary time, maternal consumption of ultraprocessed foods during the childrearing period was associated with overweight or obesity in offspring. For the highest maternal ultraprocessed food consumption versus the lowest consumption group, the risk was 26 percent higher. Peripregnancy ultraprocessed food intake was not significantly associated with an increased risk for offspring overweight or obesity. No differences were seen by age, sex, birth weight, or gestational age of offspring or maternal body weight.

“Dietary recommendations should be refined and financial and social barriers removed to improve nutrition for women of childbearing age and to reduce childhood obesity,” the authors write.

One author disclosed serving as a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry.

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