An international study led by University of Alberta researchers links poor health in the womb and in early childhood with an increased risk of premature high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart disease. Babies who do not develop properly in the womb may be born with smaller kidneys with fewer nephrons for filtering. Under-developed kidneys can cause high blood pressure later on as well as problems with heart health. The researchers found that low-birth-weight and premature babies, as well as high-birth-weight babies and children who gained weight very quickly in their first year were at risk. Babies whose mothers were malnourished or experienced complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, were also at risk. The findings highlight the importance of ensuring good maternal and fetal health to safeguard a generation at risk of chronic conditions later in life.
Poor Maternal and Child Health Linked with Premature High Blood Pressure, Kidney Disease, HealthCanal, June 18, 2013