Researchers at UPM from the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA have linked severe obesity during pregnancy to the risk of developing cancer in children under the age of five.
Their research was published in American Journal of Epidemiology, Shaina Stacy – principal investigator of the study – and her team examined nearly 2 million birth certificates and about 3,000 cancer registration records submitted in Pennsylvania in the years 2003-2016.
'We have examined whether maternal anthropometric features derived from birth certificates are associated with an increased risk of subsequent development of cancer in children, which takes into account established risk factors for the mother and infant,' the researchers explain.
The analysis involved 1 837 875 infants, including 2352 children diagnosed with cancer and 747 with leukemia before 14 years of age. The researchers found that children born to mothers with severe obesity (BMI over 40) had a 57% higher risk of leukemia before the age of 5 years. Weight and height were also individually associated with an increased risk of leukemia.
In this study, the higher the maternal BMI, the higher the cancer rate in children. "So even small amounts of weight loss can translate into a real reduction in risk," says Shine Stacy.
According to the authors of the study, these results suggest that early exposure to factors related to maternal obesity and fetal growth plays an important role in the development of cancer in children.
"We are dealing with an obesity epidemic in this country [États-Unis]In terms of prevention, maintaining a healthy weight is not only good for the mother but also for the children, "says Jian-Min Yuan, professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health and co-chairman of the program. epidemiology and cancer prevention at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.