A mother's poor dietary choices could have a harmful effect on her family's later generations, finds new research.
According to a press release issued by Washington University in St. Louis, the school's study on mice "is the first to indicate that even before becoming pregnant, a woman's obesity can cause genetic abnormalities that subsequently are passed through the female bloodline to at least three generations..."
The change is believed to occur in the mitochondrial DNA which helps to regulate metabolic activity and "other biochemical processes" and is only found in the unfertilized oocyte, or egg.
The study states that a significantly overweight mother's first generation faces an increased risk of "developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes in adulthood."
Meanwhile, "the grandchildren and great grandchildren of obese women may also inherit [a] risk of metabolic disease..."
For the research, mice were fed an unhealthy diet composed of 60 percent fat and 20 percent sugar before and throughout their pregnancy.
The resulting offspring were then given a fairly healthy diet, but the pups, grand pups, and great-grand pups still had problems with their metabolism.
Even though the study was conducted on mice, the team believes the detrimental effect could be even greater in humans.
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