The More Kids You Have, the Fatter You Are? Results from a New Study
If you’re a mom, then you know that there’s a time when you’ve felt a little “pudgy,” perhaps due to some post-baby pounds. And if you’ve got more than one little rug rat running around, you may have found it harder and harder to lose that baby weight in the months and years following their births.
Here’s the fact: the more children you have, the more weight you gain and the harder it is to lose that weight.
And it’s not just speculation, either. A recent study's findings agree with what women have suspected for a very long time, and reveal other details in regards to health that may not be so easy to observe.
Details of the Study
The study used a specially developed mouse model that was specifically intended for this research only. The mouse model was created to mimic the human effects of women who are primiparous, meaning they only give birth once in their lives, and those who are multiparous, or gave multiple births.
Recently appearing in the online journal American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, which is published by the American Physiological Society, the research was spearheaded by scientists at the University of Cincinnati and was comprised of two different parts.
For the first part of the experiments, the researchers had two groups of mice. One group contained mice that gave birth multiple times, four times to be exact. The second group of mice only gave birth once, and to reduce bias, the mice who gave birth only once were the same age as the first group when they had their fourth litter, though a few were younger. After each group had their births, the mice had their weights measured, and their fat deposits were assessed. In addition, glucose tolerance tests were performed in each mouse, as well as several biochemical markers of inflammation.
The results proved that giving birth multiple times was definitely a significant contributor to obesity, regardless of age. To be specific, the mice that gave birth four times were up to 45 percent heavier than those who only had one litter.
Also, the fat deposits on the multiparous mice were many times larger than those in the primiparous mice. The inflammation markers showed signs of elevations across different body tissues, which is a warning sign and condition linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other diseases. As a control, the primiparous mouse models were fed diets that were very high in fat, and did not reach inflammatory levels nearly as high as the multiparous mouse models.
Just like the mouse models, humans who give birth multiple times are more susceptible to unwanted weight gain, increased fat deposits and elevated inflammation across various body tissues, and helps support the theory that multiple pregnancies induce metabolic stresses on females. This could result in an obesity cycle between a mother and their child that is hard to break.
The findings are prompting health officials to develop effective ways to help women lose weight between multiple pregnancies, and will prove helpful in the ongoing effort to curb nationwide obesity.