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Babies exposed to high caffeine in womb risk obesity

Babies are likely to become overweight if exposed to high levels of caffeine in womb. According to a new study published in the journal ‘BMJ Open,’ exposure to moderate to high caffeine levels before birth is linked to excess weight gain in early childhood. Being obese or overweight is having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Being overweight is especially common where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary.


As of 2003, excess weight reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than one billion adults being either overweight or obese. The new research was led by experts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the authors said that their work supported advice to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy.


The study found that children exposed to very high levels of caffeine can weigh 480g more when they were aged eight compared to children exposed to low caffeine levels.


Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. A majority of adults consume caffeine some of which are contained in caffeinated beverages on a daily basis.


The United Kingdom NHS usually advised pregnant women to limit their caffeine consumption to no more than 200mg a day. “The mug of instant coffee, on average, contains 100mg of caffeine while a mug of tea has 75mg,” the ‘Manchester Evening News’ reported, adding, “Filter coffee has higher caffeine levels with the average mug containing 140mg of caffeine.”


Energy drinks contain high amount of caffeine, so are several diet sodas and other sweetened beverages as well as some hot drinks, chocolates, among others. The new study gathered data from more than 50,000 Norwegian women and their babies. The researchers said their findings supported evidence for women to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy and “indicate that complete avoidance might actually be advisable.”



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