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Pregnancy diet link to alcoholism

Monday August 5th, 2013

Women who eat fatty and sugary foods during pregnancy may increase the risk of their children being vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, researchers have warned.

The findings have come from studies of laboratory rats and the theory is yet to be tested in humans.

But researchers warn that many women are eating large amounts of these kinds of foods by the time they become pregnant - and many are overweight at this time.

Researcher Dr Nicole Avena, of the University of Florida, USA, said the trend came as the same time as there were increasing numbers of young people abusing alcohol and drugs.

The findings were being reported to the conference of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dr Avena conducted three separate studies and reports finding that the offspring of animals that had high fat diet during pregnancy showed a tendency to drink "significantly" more alcohol than others.

Dr Avena said: "Our findings suggest that even while still in the womb, exposure to high-fat and sugar-rich diets can, in addition to increasing body weight, lead to a predisposition to drink alcohol and a sensitivity to drugs."

She added: "The majority of women in the US at child-bearing age are overweight, and this is most likely due to overeating the tasty, high-fat, high-sugar foods you find everywhere in our society.

"The rise in prenatal and childhood obesity and the rise in number of youths abusing alcohol and drugs merits looking into all the possible roots of these growing problems."

N Avena. Fat and Sugar in Gestation, Pre-weaning and Adulthood: Behavioral Vulnerability to Drugs of Abuse. symposium 4045 APA

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | North America | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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