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Low Vitamin D Levels in Babies of Obese Moms

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reveals that pregnant women who are obese may be passing on insufficient amounts of vitamin D to their babies. Jami L. Josefson, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of the study, states that although nearly all mothers involved in the study were taking prenatal vitamin supplements, babies born to obese moms had lower levels of serum vitamin D compared to lean mothers.

Recent studies suggest that low vitamin D in adults is linked to an increase risk for obesity, autoimmune diseases, and inflammation. However, it is not known what health risks are associated with babies born with vitamin D insufficiency.

The study was included as a part of a long-term project, which investigated whether body fat at birth is a predictor of body fat in later childhood and adulthood. As a risk factor for obesity, the investigators included vitamin D level analysis in participating mothers and their babies.

The study included 61 women who gave birth at Prentice Women’s Hospital of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Pre-pregnancy body mass indexes were recorded and vitamin D levels were measured at 36 to 38 weeks gestation. Vitamin D levels were also measured from the umbilical cord blood of their babies immediately after birth. Body fat, weight and volume of the babies were also recorded.

The results showed that babies born of obese mothers had lower vitamin D levels compared to those of lean mothers. Josefson explains that vitamin D, a fat soluble substance, may be sequestered in excess fat instead of being transferred from the mother to her baby. They also found that babies born with higher vitamin D levels had more body fat.

Josefson  suggests that obese women may more vitamin D supplementation to provide their babies with sufficient levels of the vitamin before they are born.


Northwestern University. Obese moms risk having babies with low vitamin D, study finds. ScienceDaily.


Posted in: Babies' Health, Infant Health, News Briefs, Obesity, Vitamin D, Vitamins and Minerals, Women's Health

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