THURSDAY, July 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Adherence to a healthy lifestyle among mothers during their offspring’s childhood is associated with reduced risk of childhood obesity, according to a study published online July 4 in The BMJ.

Klodian Dhana, Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of mother-child pairs to examine the correlation between an overall maternal healthy lifestyle and the risk of developing obesity in offspring. Data were included for 24,289 Growing Up Today Study participants aged 9 to 14 years at baseline who were born to 16,945 Nurses’ Health Study II participants.

The researchers found that during a median of five years of follow-up, 5.3 percent of offspring became obese. A lower risk of incident obesity was seen for offspring whose mothers maintained a healthy body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m², engaged in ≥150 minutes/week of moderate/vigorous physical activities, didn’t smoke, and consumed alcohol in moderation (1 to 14.9 g/day) (relative risks, 0.44, 0.79, 0.69, and 0.88, respectively), compared with the rest. There was no significant correlation for maternal high-quality diet with the risk of obesity in offspring. Adherence to all five low-risk lifestyle factors was correlated with a lower risk of obesity versus non-adherence to any factors (relative risk, 0.25).

“These findings highlight the potential benefits of implementing family- or parental-based multifactorial interventions to curb the risk of childhood obesity,” the authors write.

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