FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
Obesity is associated with metabolic and inflammatory changes that can lead to many serious health problems - both physical and mental.
Substantial evidence now indicates that maternal obesity before and during pregnancy can also adversely affect mental as well as physical health and development in the resulting children - and that these harmful effects are lifelong.
As this review documents, human studies have shown that obesity in mothers-to-be predicts higher rates of ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders and cognitive problems in the children; and animal studies have provided clear evidence of causal mechanisms that can explain these observations.
Futher research is clearly needed - but in the meanwhile, raising awareness of these links between maternal obesity and child behaviour might help provide additional motivation for efforts to promote healthier eating and reduce obesity.