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Coffee during pregnancy raises risk of an overweight child

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A recent study conducted in Norway has for the first time made a link between drinking coffee during pregnancy and the risk of having an overweight child in early childhood. Children who were exposed to moderate to high levels of caffeine during their developmental stages in the womb have, according the research, have a significantly higher chance of being overweight.

The research studied 51,000 mother and infant pairs between 2002 and 2008 and measured the daily intake of caffeine by the mothers from chocolate, tea, coffee and soft drinks at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Over four in ten were classed as having an average caffeine intake, which is, according to NHS guidelines, up to two cups of coffee a day. Seven percent of the participants were considered to have a high level of intake (up to three cups daily). A further 3 percent were rated as ‘very high’ with more than three cups a day.

The researchers then measured and weighed their offspring, measuring them at six weeks and then at three, six, eight, 12, 18, two years and then annually until they reached eight.

The results were intriguing with the mothers with an average intake of caffeine showing a 15 percent higher chance of having heavier children - but not taller - than those whose mothers avoided caffeine altogether. The figure rose to 30 percent among high caffeine users. Very high users’ children often weighed up to three ounces more between three and twelve months, rising to a pound more by age eight.

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