‘Your child eats what you eat’
• Women with good nutrition are more likely to have babies born with cancer-suppressing gene variant • Short gap between pregnancies can increase autism risk, researchers find
A disturbing new advertising campaign warns expectant mothers about the effects their food and drink intake can have on their unborn children – by showing young babies suckling on breasts that have been painted to look like a variety of unhealthy treats.
The alarming ads, created for Brazil’s Pediatric Society of Rio Grande (SPRS), also feature the ominous tagline: “Your child is what you eat,’ which could also be translated as: ‘Your child eats what you eat.”
Designed by Brazilian-based agency Paim, the ads are a startling reminder that mothers can potentially harm their young babies with their poor diets.
Beneath the tagline, the ads warn: “Your habits in the first thousand days of (your child’s life0 can prevent your child from developing serious diseases.”
One image shows a baby nursing on a breast with a massive cheeseburger painted on it, while other ads in the awareness campaign see infants suckling on breasts illustrated with fountain soda and doughnuts.
A recent study by Robert Waterland, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, found that healthy diets of pregnant mothers could result in babies developing a gene variant that suppresses tumors.
However, if a pregnant mother does not have good nutrition, her baby’s immune system is less likely to activate the cancer-fighting gene variant.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that the length of time a woman leaves between pregnancies can increase the risk of their youngest child developing autism.
Children conceived less than two years after the birth of their sibling – or more than six years afterwards – are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
However, the study showed an association, and did not prove cause-and-effect, researchers said.
They suggest that women who have children in quick succession may have depleted supplies of folic acid, increasing the risk of autism.
The research was published online in the journal Pediatrics and will feature in the October issue of the journal.
Previous research has added weight to the theory that low levels of folic acid or iron in pregnancy may increase the risk of autism.
However, researchers could offer no explanation as to why leaving a long gap between children increases the risk.
The finding is the latest in a string of studies, which found the risk for autism increased with short gaps between pregnancies, and longer than usual intervals.
Director of the autism research programme of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, and the study’s author, Dr. Lisa Croen, said the research lends support to the World Health Organisation’s recommendation to wait at least two years after a child is born before attempting the next pregnancy, HealthDay reports.
Teenage mothers and women over 40 are more likely to have children with autism, a major study revealed. And parents with a relatively large gap between their ages are also more likely to raise children with the condition.
It also confirmed that older parents are at higher risk of having children with autism, as other studies have shown previously.
Fathers over 50 saw the greatest increase in the risk of their child developing the condition.
But researchers cannot explain why teenage mothers, older mothers and couples with gaps in their ages have an increased chance of their child developing the condition.
Boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism, the CDC reports. Genetic and environmental factors may play a role in the condition, which affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
The team also looked at the intervals between a mother’s pregnancies, defined as the time from the first birth to the conception of the second child.
For these children, the risk of autism was one-and-a-half to three times higher for intervals less than two years and six years or longer, when compared with an interval of three years to just under four years.
*Culled from Daly Mail Online