A study of more than 40,000 U.S. women and their infants found that gaining more than 40 pounds during pregnancy almost doubles the risk of delivering a baby that weighs 9 pounds or more. Heavy babies are programmed to become overweight or obese later in life, the lead researcher said.
A study of more than 30,000 postmenopausal women found those who were at normal weight and exercised vigorously reduced their breast cancer risk by 30%. Overall, the women who exercised the most were 13% less likely to develop breast cancer.
Public health officials fear the economic downturn could mean an upswing in obesity, as people turn to cheaper packaged and high-fat fast food instead of healthy fresh fare. University of Washington professor Adam Drewnowski says people spend less money but eat more with inexpensive calorie-rich and nutrient-poor foods.
A 15-minute computer-based counseling program helped educate women about the benefits of taking folic acid before pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Researchers say on-screen sessions have many advantages over printed pamphlets, especially for women who don't read well.