Recent research has suggested that there is a link between mothers who are obese before they become pregnant and their children's risk of developing ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This could be down to a number of factors. Mothers may gain weight because they are stressed and it is their stress rather than their weight problems that lead their children to develop ADHD; there may be a common genetic factor linking a tendency to obesity in mothers with a tendency towards ADHD in their children or obese mothers may be more likely to have obese children and it is the children's obesity that makes them more likely to have ADHD. Alina Rodriguez from Uppsala University in Sweden looked into this further in a study of 1,714 children and their mothers who were monitored from before the mother's pregnancy until their children were five. The study took into account the mother's circumstances (smoking, depression, 'life events', education, age and family structure), the child's birth weight and gestational age, whether the child was a boy or a girl, whether the parents had ADHD and if the child was overweight. Even after allowing for all these factors mothers who were overweight or obese before becoming pregnant were more likely to have children with attention problems. Being obese before becoming pregnant was associated with a doubling in the risk of one's children developing problems with 'emotional intensity' and managing emotions.
Rodriguez, Alina - Maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and risk for inattention and negative emotionality in children Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry February 2010, 51(2), 134-143