Thursday, 26 Jul, 2007 Science
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Underfed Embryo Could Result in Adult Obesity, Study Says

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New-Zealand researchers claim they have found one more reason for why some people are exposed to gain weight faster than others. The study of the Oakland University researchers showed that while in the womb the fetus analyzes the amount of nutrient materials it is being supplied with to evaluate a possible environment it will be in after the birth. Thus the fetus prematurely adapts itself to the future, and possible, conditions of life.

The research showed that if a mother supplied a small amount of nutrient materials, the child's genetic memory would choose a scheme, which enabled the child's metabolism to gain and retain weight. However, after the birth, the environment often to have a sufficient supply in fat rich food, thus the child and, subsequently, the adult starts gaining extra weight without much effort.

The New-Zealand scientists have conducted a series of tests with female rats to establish this relation of fetus' environment with the child's environment. The tests showed that the young rats of the underfed females were bound to obesity. Yet if the mothers were introduced an element, called leptin, which gave a sense of saturation, the young rats were not bound to eating much and their weight was kept within acceptable boundaries.

Current researches are among the first to study effects of embryonic environment effects upon further development.

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