Can childhood obesity be prevented before conception? New Cleveland-based study will try to prove it can

Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 6:13 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Clinic, the MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine just announced they received the federal funding needed to begin a research study that, the hope is, will reveal whether childhood obesity can be prevented before pregnancy. The study will be based right here in Cleveland.

Studies show 17 percent of children are considered to be obese.

"If you have a mother who is overweight or obese, the environment that her baby's in, increases the risk of that baby being obese at the time of birth," said Dr. Patrick Catalano of MetroHealth.

Researchers will study 200 women who will be divided into two groups. Half of the group will receive the usual care that is provided before and during pregnancy. The other group will get what's called LIPP intervention - or the Lifestyle Intervention in Preparation for Pregnancy program. LIPP participants will get a nutrition and exercise program to follow.

"What we're looking at is to improve health through lifestyle intervention - healthy eating, exercise, good food habits, which we think can really have long term effects on the offspring," added Dr. Catalano.

Researchers are looking to see if they can change the rate at which the placenta metabolizes fat - basically trying to create a healthy metabolism in a child before they are even born.

Researchers also hope to get funding that will allow them to continue to follow the women and children in their study after their formal study is over to ensure that they continue to follow a healthy lifestyle.

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