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Mother's eating habits affect baby

Nutrition in the womb and in the early years of life could determine if children will choose healthy foods in later life, say obesity experts at the Association for the Study of Obesity annual meeting.

Experts gathered today at the University of Liverpool to look at the genetic, environmental and cultural influences on early feeding preferences and the impact on future obesity.

There is mounting evidence suggesting that inuterine development and infancy “program” long-term food preferences.

Experts believe that food eaten by the mother flavour the amniotic fluid and the breastmilk fed to the infant.

These ideas were enforced at the meeting by Sophie Nicklaus, who suggested that eating healthy food while pregnant can positively impact on children's eating patterns, exposure and uptake of fat and sugar and later predisposition to obesity.

Peter Bundred from the University of Liverpool discussed the possibility of rapid infant weight gain on regulating appetite and lean versus fat mass distribution.

Abstracts from the conference are available on request from the Association for the Study of Obesity and the Obesity Resource Centre.