Annual Report 2001 - Cornell University
003 Selected Faculty Research

16 Connecting Pregnancy and Obesity

Christine M. Olson, Nutritional Science, found in a study that excessive weight gain during pregnancy contributes significantly to escalating obesity rates in the U.S. Women who gain more than the recommended weight in pregnancy are four times more likely to be obese one year after giving birth, compared to women who stayed within recommended guidelines of the Institute of Medicine. The study showed that more than 40 percent of the women studied gained more weight than recommended during pregnancy, and one-fourth of all pregnant women studied were at least 10 pounds heavier one year after giving birth. Prior to this study, researchers had not known that the effects of gestational weight gains were this substantial and contributed as much to obesity. Following this study, the Centers for Disease Control reported that obesity rates have risen nearly 60 percent in the U.S. since 1991. Obesity increases the risks of chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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