Mother’s Bariatric Surgery Lowers Risk of Obesity for Offspring

It has been established that obese mothers are more likely to have offspring who will also become obese. According to a previous study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, there are a number of other factors which can contribute towards a child’s risk of becoming obese, however a major one is the mother being obese herself. Researchers have discovered that children with obese mothers have 4 percent more body fat when compared with kids that have normal weight mothers.

However, the authors believed that lifestyle factors were the primary cause for this trend. Their analysis has isolated significant genetic disparities between children born prior to the surgery and their siblings who were born before the procedure. The new results indicate that genes are directly related to childhood obesity.

Experts believe that genes play a critical role in causing obesity; they claim that overweight or obese mothers have much greater levels of sugars and fat in their bloodstreams which can directly impact their baby’s health. The high levels of sugars and fats could be the primary reason babies born to obese mothers run a higher risk of becoming obese themselves later in life.

For the study, a total of 50 children who were born to 20 mothers before and after they underwent gastric bypass surgery were examined by the investigators. All the mothers were obese prior to undertaking bariatric surgery, which involved limiting food consumption by means of altering the small intestine.

The children who were born following their mothers gastric bypass operation were not only less likely to become obese, but also had a reduced risk of developing diabetes or heart disease later in life.

The researchers identified that a total of “5,698 genes were significantly methylated between siblings born before maternal surgery (BMS) and siblings born after maternal bariatric gastrointestinal bypass surgery (AMS) siblings, exhibiting a preponderance of glucoregulatory, inflammatory, and vascular disease genes.”

The authors concluded by stating, “Statistically significant correlations between gene methylation levels and gene expression and plasma markers of insulin resistance were consistent with metabolic improvements in AMS offspring, reflected in genes involved in diabetes-related cardiometabolic pathways. This unique clinical study demonstrates that effective treatment of a maternal phenotype is durably detectable in the methylome and transcriptome of subsequent offspring.”