Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Obesity in young people is a major and growing health concern.
Scientists say that exposure to a mother’s cigarette smoke while in the womb increases a child’s risk for obesity.
A study in the Archives of General Psychiatry looked at 378 adolescents ages 13 to 19. Some had been exposed to maternal smoking, some had not.
Those who had been exposed weighed less at birth, but by the time of the study they had:
- Higher body weight
- Higher body mass index
- Higher total body fat
In each category, they exceeded that of teenagers who had not been exposed to smoking in the womb.
The exposed teenagers also showed a lower volume in the Amygdala, a part of the brain associated with limiting fat intake.
This may increase a dietary preference for fat, contributing to obesity.