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HHS HealthBeat (July 10, 2013)

Mothers, daughters and smoking

HHS HealthBeat: A pregnant mother avoids cigarette smoke.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that women who smoke when they are pregnant raise the risk that their daughters will grow up to be obese and – if the daughters become pregnant – have pregnancy-related, or gestational, diabetes.

Researcher Matthew Longnecker of the National Institutes of Health saw this in data on women in Sweden, where medical records note whether women smoked when they were pregnant.

“Daughters of mothers who smoked while pregnant had about a 50 percent increase in risk of obesity and gestational diabetes.”

Longnecker thinks smoking’s chemicals may make the fetus’s developing cells more likely to become large fat cells, and may permanently damage the developing pancreas, which makes insulin.

The study was published in the journal Diabetologia.  

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 10, 2013