Childhood Obesity Prevention

The media is telling us that we are experiencing an “epidemic” of childhood obesity.  Tax rebates are given to families who enroll their children in physical exercise programs, pop machines are being taken out of schools, and parents are told to limit computer and video game time.  These are great steps we are making toward a healthier generation.

Perhaps we can go one step further… pre-natally.  Most of the children born in the past few decades were born to moms who faithfully took their prenatal vitamins to prevent to spinal bifida and other malnutrition diseases.  These children also happen to be the “obese” generation.

While in-utero, the developing fetus gets some idea of the world he/she is coming into.  Based on the type and amount of nourishment/ chemicals found in maternal blood, genetic sequences are either activated or deactivated, in anticipation for the outside world.

When fetus develops in a woman taking large quantity of nourishments (through supplementation or excess food), his/her genetic material is primed to acquire more nutrients or calories after birth just to function normally.  Once born, these children may then have a greater tendency towards obesity.

A well know example of supplementation doing harm is rebound scurvy of the newborn.  Infants born to mothers taking excess vitamin C during pregnancy, is temporarily unable to cope with the sudden drop in vitamin C level after birth.  They develop all the symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency because their body was accustomed having more.  Also, children born to diabetic or obese moms are more likely to be obese themselves and require more effort to maintain healthy body weight.  This is because their metabolism was taught, for nine months, to take in more calories.

If you are suffering from severe morning sickness or other significant illness, nutritional supplementation is paramount to healthy fetal development.  But if you already eat a balanced diet, supplementation is not necessary, and may even be harmful.

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