Environmental Influences our Weight

31 Oct

The temptations of our environment — the sedentary living, the ready supply of rich food — may not be entirely to blame for rising obesity rates. In fact, new research suggests that the environment that most strongly influences body composition may be the very first one anybody experiences: the womb.

 

According to several animal studies, conditions during pregnancy, including the mother’s diet, may determine how fat the offspring are as adults. Human studies have shown that women who eat little in pregnancy, surprisingly, more often have children who grow into fat adults. More than a dozen studies have found that children are more likely to be fat if their mothers smoke during pregnancy.

 

The research is just beginning, true, but already it has upended some hoary myths about dieting. The body establishes its optimal weight early on, perhaps even before birth, and defends it vigorously through adulthood. As a result, weight control is difficult for most of us. And obesity, the terrible new epidemic of the developed world, is almost impossible to cure.

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