Overweight Mothers Give Birth to Less Intelligent Children

The children, whose mothers have been overweight at the time of pregnancy, demonstrate lower results at the tests of verbal and arithmetic skills. But this, of course, does not prove that the mother’s extra pounds reduce the intelligence of future children. Just as the fact that the mother’s weight loss can improve the offspring’s mental capacity.


The experts from the Institute of Child Health at University College London (UK) have analyzed the data on 20,000 British children. The two youngest participants, aged 5 and 7 years, took the standardized tests of verbal ability, the ability to read and think.

In general, the babies, whose mothers were obese at the time of conception, coped with the test a little worse. But is it possible to blame the mother’s type of a figure for that? Just imagine: with the increase of maternal body mass index for every 10 points, the intellectual achievements of the future baby decrease by only 1.5 points. The researchers have tried to take into account other factors such as family income and parental education. However, they did not have any key information, including the IQ of the baby’s mother and father.

Nine studies, investigating the relationship between maternal weight and mental and behavioral development of children, had been conducted earlier. The results of most studies demonstrated such dependence. But it is not clear so far why the mother’s weight affects the child’s intelligence. According to one theory, excess fat in women adversely affects the development of the fetal brain. This has been proven by experiments on animals, but the scientists can not yet say that the result is true for human beings. In any case, excess weight is harmful to both mother and child.

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