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Consuming less meat during pregnancy increases child's risk of smoking, study warns

Posted October 5th, 2017, 12:51 PM IST

Consuming less meat during pregnancy increases child's risk of smoking, study warns

Washington: Beware mommies-to-be as children whose mothers consume less or no red meat during pregnancy are at increased risk of alcohol, cannabis and cigarette during adolescence, finds a study.

According to researchers, lower meat consumption during pregnancy is associated with an increase in risk of substance misuse by their kids during adolescence.

The team included 5,109 women and their offspring, less frequent consumption of red meat, poultry and meat products during pregnancy were associated with greater risks of adverse alcohol, cannabis and cigarette use.

Lower meat consumption disproportionally increased the risks of offspring substance misuse among mothers with optimally functional variants of the gene that encodes a vitamin B12 transport protein.

Because vitamin B12 insufficiencies are likely to have a contributing role to the study's findings, greater meat consumption need not be advised to modify this risk. For example, fortification of foods with vegetarian sources of vitamin B12 and more widespread use of supplements may be other options.

Lead study author Dr. Joseph Hibbeln said, "The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes recommendations for healthy vegetarian eating patterns."

The researchers noted the need to investigate potential health impacts, and solutions, for some women who choose to restrict certain food categories during pregnancy.

The research is published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal.