Scientists have found that there could be a link between the amount of sugar a woman consumes when pregnant and their child’s chance of developing asthma and allergies later on.
The new study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, involved almost 9,000 children born in the UK between 1991 and 1992 and their mothers.
As part of the study, the women filled in questionnaires about the food and drink they ate and drank during the last 3 months of their pregnancy. The health of all their children was regularly monitored through clinic visits and further questionnaires as they grew up. This included having skin tests for allergies at the age of 7 years.
The scientists looked at the amount of sugar the women ate and drank – including both sugars artificially added to food and drinks, and those found naturally in honey, syrups and fruit juices – in relationship to whether their children had asthma or allergies.
Next, they compared the asthma and allergy rates among the children of the women that ate and drank the most sugar with those of the women that consumed the least. The researchers found that the children whose mothers ate and drank the most sugar were 38% more likely to have allergies and 101% more likely to have asthma.
Since the study is based on observations, the findings do not necessarily mean that a woman consuming lots of sugar during pregnancy will definitely cause their child to asthma and allergy.
The researchers are keen that more research is done to better understand the findings, and if there are ways to protect children from developing asthma and allergies. For the time being, they recommend that women avoid eating and drinking too much sugar while pregnant.
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