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Shaping Policies | Improving Health
September 5, 2012 New research suggests how smoking during pregnancy may increase a child’s risk of obesity during adolescence. Children born to mothers who smoked while pregnant show structural changes in their brains, which make them more partial to fatty foods and prone to subsequent weight problems, the study found.
“The fact that prenatal smoking is associated with a high risk of obesity in offspring has been known, but the potential mechanism that may lead to this risk was not fully understood,” said study author Dr. Zdenka Pausova, a scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “Our study suggests that maternal smoking may cause structural changes in the part of the brain that processes reward and may increase preference for fatty food.”
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