Study Links Colorectal Cancer in Offspring to Mother’s Obesity

Sep, 2021 - By SMI

Study Links Colorectal Cancer in Offspring to Mother’s Obesity

A team of researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, U.S.  revealed that infants have higher chance of developing colorectal cancer later in life if their mothers were obese during pregnancy.

Colorectal cancer is also known as bowel cancer or colon cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the global population. As per the same source, colorectal cancer is the one of the major cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Obesity is one of the risk factors for colon cancer. In this context, it is important to note that previous studies have revealed that fetal or developmental origins of obesity can be a reason for colon cancer in adulthood. In the current study, the researchers studied the relation between colon cancer in offspring and maternal obesity and weight gain during pregnancy. They revealed that maternal obesity increases the risk of obesity in offspring during adulthood. They also added that maternal obesity may affect the developing gastrointestinal tract in the womb, which in turn may result in colon cancer in the offspring in later part of their lives. For this study, the researchers interpreted the data collected from the Public Health Institute's Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS). The CDHS had record of pregnant women between 1959 and 1966 who received prenatal care in Oakland, California. The researchers tracked the health conditions of over 18,000 offspring for 60 years. The researchers tracked the health conditions in order to determine which ones had developed colon cancer in adulthood through 2019.

Taken together, the researchers concluded that the adult children whose mothers were obese during pregnancy had higher chances of developing colorectal cancer in comparison to the adult offspring of underweight or healthy mothers. They even added that the timing of gaining weight during pregnancy was related to risk factors of colorectal cancer, regardless of a mother’s obesity.

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