The diet a pregnant woman eats can affect not only her child’s health, but her grandchild’s as well.
A ‘memory’ of nutrition is passed down between generations, according to research published in the Journal Science.
In particular, researchers have found that actually under-eating can cause a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity for their descendants who could be born pre-programmed to cope with undernourishment.
They believe that this effect may explain why we now have such a type 2 diabetes epidemic on our hands.
Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, of the department of genetics at Cambridge, said: ‘When food is scarce, children may be born ‘pre-programmed’ to cope with undernourishment. In the event of a sudden abundance in food, their bodies cannot cope and they can develop metabolic diseases such as diabetes.”
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