Smoking moms lower 'good' cholesterol in kids: study

Women who smoke during pregnancy may lower the level of 'good' cholesterol in their children, with some negative impacts showing up later in life, according to a study released Tuesday.

HDL - or high-density lipoprotein - cholesterol helps protect against heart disease as one gets older.

The research, published in the European Heart Journal, showed that by age eight children born to mothers who smoked while pregnant had HDL cholesterol levels about 10 percent below normal, once other factors were taken into account.

Whether or not children were exposed to other people's smoke after birth did not change the outcome, a strong indication that prenatal exposure had the most impact on subsequent development, the study found.

"Our results suggest that maternal smoking 'imprints' an unhealthy set of characteristics on children while they are developing in the womb, which may well predispose them to later heart attack and stroke," said David Celermajer, a professor at the University of Sydney and leader of the study.

"This imprinting seems to last for at least eight years and probably a lot longer."

Smoking during and after pregnancy has long been linked to a range of health consequences in offspring, including behavioural and neurocognitive problems, and sudden infant death.

Up to now, however, it was unknown whether pre-natal exposure upped the risk of future cardiovascular disease.

Celermajer and colleagues examined the effects of maternal smoking on the thickness of the arterial wall and the levels of lipoproteins in 405 healthy eight-year-olds born between 1997 and 1999.

The children had been enrolled before birth into a clinical trial looking at asthma and allergic diseases.

The researchers collected data on the mothers' smoking habits during and after pregnancy, and on the children after they were born.

They used ultrasound scans to measure the arterial wall thickness and, in 328 children who agreed, took blood in order to measure lipoprotein levels.

There was no effect on the thickness of the children's arteries, a telltale sign of heart disease.

But levels of HDL cholesterol were lower, suggesting a 10 to 15 percent higher risk for coronary disease later in life for the children of smoking mothers.

The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy is around 15 percent in many Western countries.

"We will have to do long-term follow-up to see if these particular children continue to have lower HDL cholesterol levels than normal, but one should presume that this risk factor might indeed be persistent," said Celermajer.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Day In a Page

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England