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Is dietary behaviour predetermined in the womb?

Children might inherit junk food cravings from mothers who over-indulge in a fatty and sugary diet during pregnancy, suggests new research.

Tests carried out on pregnant rats by Royal Veterinary College researchers showed that when fed a diet of biscuits, crisps and sweets as opposed to a balanced diet, their offspring chose to eat more unhealthy food.

“This is an interesting study," said Tracy Kelly, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.

"We already know that it is important for women to eat a healthy, balanced diet - before, during and after pregnancy. 

“The link between junk food and obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes are well known. In recent years, we have also seen a worrying increase of children and young people developing Type 2 diabetes, a condition which traditionally affected people aged over 40.

“However, this research was only trialled on rats and much more work needs to be done before we draw any firm conclusions on how a junk food diet in pregnancy can affect the baby’s craving for the same diet.”

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