Moms-to-be, please note -- the more overweight you are, the more chubby your kid is likely to become, a new study has revealed.
Researchers at New South Wales University have found a link between childhood obesity and a mother's diet before and during pregnancy -- in fact, expectant moms who are overweight are likely to have "fatter babies with bigger appetites".
"Maternal obesity and overfeeding early on in life can cause significant changes in chemicals that regulate appetite, which may suggest the babies're programmed to eat differently from those born from lean mothers.
"Appetite is controlled by particular centres within the brain. Other research in this field suggests that maternal food preferences during pregnancy can affect food preferences of offspring.
"As brain control of appetite is likely set early in life, nutrient availability in the fetal or early post-natal period may contribute to adult obesity," lead researcher Prof Morris said.
In fact, the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of laboratory rodents, the 'Endocrinology' journal reported in its latest edition.
The study showed that pups from obese mother rats who were fed more milk were almost twice as heavy as those born to lean mothers with a regular milk consumption at weaning age -- the mother rats actually ate more than double the calories of the control group.
The cafeteria diet used to feed the mother rats was designed to approximate a western diet which people eat daily at home. It is of high fat content, and palatable with a lot of variety.