This seems like a pretty amazing study to me.
A group of researchers studied women who had given birth and had bariatric surgery. About half the women had had one child before and one child after the surgery.
The results? Children born to women who had lost weight through bariatric surgery were healthier than children born to obese moms. Many of the babies were born at healthier weights, with less tendencies toward obesity themselves. The study suggested that the womb of a woman at a normal weight is a healthier environment for a fetus than that of a woman who is obese.
“This is very important work,” says Dana Dabelea, a physician and epidemiologist at the University of Colorado–Denver and the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. “This is the first proof that exposure to obesity in utero is associated with long-term effects,” she says.
Dabelea was quoted in this U.S. News & World Report story about the study, which appears in the November Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism:
"As a group, the children born after surgery scored better on a host of medical tests. Blood tests revealed that those born after surgery had healthier levels of leptin and ghrelin, hormones that regulate appetite. These children also used insulin more efficiently. This hormone regulates how cells process sugars, and children born to women after weight-loss surgery had less evidence of insulin resistance, which can a precursor to diabetes. Measurements of overall HDL cholesterol, the good kind, were higher in children born after surgery, and their total-cholesterol-to-HDL ratio was lower. Children born after mom had obesity surgery also had lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of low-grade, chronic inflammation," the story says.
Some people today consider bariatric surgery simply an "easy way out" surgery that you have if you can't lose the weight in more traditional ways. It couldn't be farther from the truth. But this story about fetal health may give obese women who would like to start a family more determination to lose the weight however they can, including through surgery.
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