Simple Lifestyle Interventions Help Obese Pregnant Women Lower Risk of High Birth Weight Infants

First Posted: Oct 07, 2014 08:04 AM EDT

A team of Australian researchers found that simple lifestyle interventions can avert the risk of obese pregnant women delivering heavy birth weight babies

Birth weight is defined as the body weight of a baby at its birth. Health experts consider birth weight as a key indicator of the ability of the newborn to survive. High birth weight usually occurs in full-term or post term infants.

Studies conducted earlier have revealed that infants with high birth weight have greater risk of becoming obese as children or adults.

The latest study by researchers at the University of Adelaide found that through simple lifestyle interventions that include dietary changes and increasing physical activity, obese pregnant women can lower the risk of high birth weights in newborn.  This finding is part of the EC-funded EarlyNutrition Project coordinated by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtat, Munich.

The researchers conducted a study of 2,200 obese women during pregnancy. Among these, half were given advice and support to alter their eating habits that included increasing the number of servings per day of fruits and vegetables and lowering the intake of foods that were high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats.

Apart from this, women were also asked to increase the level of physical activity, basically by increasing walking and incidental activity level.

Professor Jodie Dodd summarizes the results: "Infants born to women who received lifestyle advice were 18% less likely to have a high birth weight compared to infants born to women who received standard care."

As obesity is considered a major health problem both among children as well in adults, reducing high infant birth weights is one good strategy to battle it.

The finding was documented in the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism.

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