Tobacco smoke can escalate risk of developing diabetes for babies in the womb, indicates a recently published study.
According to a study from the University of California, Davis and the Berkeley nonprofit Public Health Institute, children exposed to tobacco smoke from their parents while in the womb, are significantly more vulnerable to developing diabetes as adults.
Published February 9 in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, women, whose mothers smoked while pregnant, were two to three times as likely to be diabetic as adults. Dads who smoked while their daughter was in utero also contributed to an increased diabetes risk for their child.
However, the researchers admitted more investigation is needed to corroborate the exact extent of risk dads presented to their daughters. Speaking about the research lead author Michele La Merrill, an assistant professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis, said.
“Our findings are consistent with the idea that gestational environmental chemical exposures can contribute to the development of health and disease.”
In simpler words, earlier studies which examined the level of risks, harmful chemicals in the atmosphere presented to the unborn child, had similar findings. Exposing a fetus to unhealthy and unnatural chemicals significantly weakens the child, hinders the development of the immune system and predisposes him or her to many ailments in the future.
This particular study analyzed data from 1,800 daughters of women who had participated in the Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS), an ongoing project of the Public Health Institute (PHI). The CHDS chose women who had sought obstetric care through Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1959 and 1967.
The report in its current form offers conclusive evidence about girl child primarily because the original research was meant for an entirely different hypothesis. The data was originally collected by PHI to study early risk of breast cancer, which is why sons were not considered in this current study.
In previous studies, fetal exposure to cigarette smoke has also been linked to higher rates of obesity and low birth weight. However, this study also found that birth weight was not a factor that predicted whether the daughters of smoking parents developed diabetes, dispelling a common misconception,
“We found that smoking of parents is by itself a risk factor for diabetes, independent of obesity or birth weight. If a parent smokes, you’re not protected from diabetes just because you’re lean.”
The mental and physical development of a child still developing in the womb, be it a girl or a boy, is affected by synthetic and harmful chemicals, either through oral ingestion (alcohol) or through the respiratory system (smoking). Hence the research can be safely extrapolated to the male child as well, advise researchers.[Image Credit | Alamy]