Epigenetic changes or alteration of the fetus’ DNA function (without changes to the actual DNA) can occur with a nutrition poor pregnancy diet leading the child to store more fat in later life. Surprisingly, these changes were found to be independent of the child’s birthweight.
The functional DNA change doesn’t end there. These epigenetic changes also strongly influence how the child responds to diet and lifestyle changes years later.
The study examined babies at birth for these epigenetic changes and found these changes strongly predictive of the child’s obesity status 6 or even 9 years later.
The most sobering statement made by the researchers: “This study provides the most compelling evidence yet that just focusing on interventions in adult life will not reverse the epidemic of chronic diseases, not only in developed societies but in low socio-economic populations too.”
It seems that Traditional Societies indeed had it right! To ensure a healthy population, primary effort must be expended on the pre-pregnancy and pregnancy diet of the parents-to-be! Trying to fix problems after the baby is born has limited effect.
It is absolutely essential that information regarding the protective effects of Traditional Pregnancy Diets become more widely available and accessible for any headway in the reversal of the obesity epidemic to be made. Putting kids on skim milk and adding an extra day or two of PE at school sure isn’t having much effect.
The Healthy Home Economist has been a Nutrition Educator since 2002. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Nutrition nonprofit the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2011.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.