New Delhi: Children of women who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to be obese in their teenage years, a new study has found.
Researchers found that those who were exposed to cigarette smoke while in the womb had significantly higher quantities of fat than their non-exposed peers later in life.
These teenagers had a third more fat around their internal organs and 26 percent more fat directly under the skin.
According Zdenka Pausova, one of the study`s two principal investigators, the findings provide another reason for expectant mothers to give up smoking.
"We believe that maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy plays an important role in the foetal programming of obesity," dailymail.co.uk quoted her as saying.
"Although we do not know the exact mechanisms, we know that nicotine in cigarette smoke, for example, sets into the baby`s body and stays there in higher quantities and for longer than in the mother`s.
"Animal studies suggest that nicotine given prenatally could influence certain parts of the brain, including those that control how much and what we eat and how well we burn calories," she added.