Low-GI diets could prevent obesity in babies

According to a study undertaken by scientists from the University of Sydney, a pregnant woman's diet could predispose her unborn baby to obesity.

A University of Sydney research team, and recent recipient of NHMRC funding for research into human eating patterns, has been tackling the obesity epidemic and will showcase their findings at a free public lecture as part of the Sydney Science Forum at the University of Sydney's Eastern Ave Auditorium, on Wednesday 14 March.

Professor Jennie-Brand Miller from the University's School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences undertook a study to compare the effects of two diets, a low-GI diet (LGI) and moderate-to-high-GI (HGI) diet, on the weight of babies born to healthy women. Half of the subjects followed a low-GI diet during pregnancy, while the other half received dietary counselling which encouraged high-fibre, low sugar foods. Foetal size and birth weight were the primary measures of the outcomes of the study.

"The results were amazing," says Professor Brand-Miller. "Women in the HGI group gave birth to infants who were heavier at birth, had a higher amount of body fat, and were generally larger." The study concluded that because birth weight may predict chronic disease, such as obesity, in later life, a low-GI diet during pregnancy may help prevent the onset of childhood obesity.

Joining her will be Professor Ian Caterson, a world authority on obesity and director of the NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity, and Professor Steve Simpson, a University of Sydney Federation Fellow who is undertaking research into how the eating habits of insects might help humans manage or prevent themselves from becoming obese.

Combining elements of both popular and technical science, the Sydney Science Forum aims to increase public awareness of the ground-breaking science and research that is being carried out by the talented scientists at the University. By presenting the forums in a free public lecture format, the audience is given a backstage pass into the world of science, and an exclusive look at the work of these world-class scientists.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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