Children born to obese mothers are 35 per cent more likely to die before they reach 55, a study has found.
They also have a 29 per cent increased chance of being admitted to hospital for heart attacks, angina and stroke than those born to mothers of a normal weight.
Experts analysed data for 37,709 babies delivered between 1950 and 1976 in Scotland. Their mother’s weight was recorded during her first antenatal appointment in pregnancy.
The results showed that offspring were 35 per cent more likely to have suffered an early death by the age of 55 if their mother had been obese in pregnancy (body mass index of 30 or over). This held true even after other factors, including mother’s age, socio-economic status, sex of the child and current weight, were taken into account.
Writing online in the British Medical Journal, the experts concluded: “Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death in adult offspring.”
Among the 28,540 mothers, 21 per cent (5,993) were overweight and 4 per cent (1,141) were obese.
The researchers, from the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, said the results were a “major public health concern”, especially seeing as only 4 per cent of mothers in the study were obese, “far smaller than current levels in the US and UK”.