In a study published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, a study by Columbia University’s Melman School of Public Health found that boys whose mothers were obese during pregnancy scored at least five points lower on IQ tests than boys with normal mother weight. None of this has any effect on the girl.
The team at Columbia University’s Melman School of Public Health studied 368 mothers and children whose economic environment syllathinged with their communities.
The researchers tested each during pregnancy, at the age of 3 and 7. At age 3, researchers measured their children’s motor skills and found that obesity during pregnancy was associated with low exercise skills in boys.
At the age of seven, they again measured and found that boys whose mothers were overweight or obese during pregnancy scored at least five points lower on IQ tests than boys whose mothers were normal. None of this has any effect on the girl.
The researchers found that the link between obesity during pregnancy and decreased IQ also existed in the early and middle stages of childhood development, meaning that the effect softened over time.
The team also looked at the parenting environment in the child’s home, including the interaction between parents and children, and whether the child has access to books and toys. A warm family environment can reduce the negative effects of obesity during pregnancy, a study has found.
It is not clear why obesity during pregnancy affects a child’s development. The researchers believe that characteristics of obese people, such as inflammation, metabolic stress, hormonal disorders and large amounts of insulin and glucose, may be the main factors affecting children.