There were some interesting articles resulting from the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto last week. In particular, Dr. Frédéric Guénard from Québec, presented research indicating that children born to mothers who have undergone bariatric surgery are less likely to be obese when they grow-up than children born to the same mothers before they underwent surgery. Unfortunately, I was not actually at the conference and the research doesn’t appear to be published so I can’t comment on anything beyond what’s been reported in the newspapers. Of course, the environment can’t be ruled out as a confounding factor in this study. Obviously, the food environment in which the children are being raised would differ prior to and following weight loss surgery. Assuming that the study was sound, this is pretty interesting stuff and leads to additional questions.
I wonder if similar results would be seen when comparing offspring born to mothers who had lost comparable amounts of weight without undergoing surgery. As there are risks associated with bariatric surgery (as with any surgical procedure but also ongoing risks of malnutrition post-surgery) it would be great if children could obtain the same benefits when they’re born to mothers who have lost weight without surgery. Also, I’m curious if body weight is the only ongoing epigenetic effect seen in children born to mothers who’ve undergone weight loss surgery. Since there is a risk of nutrient malabsorption in patients after weight loss surgery is there a risk posed to children of these patients later in life? Afterall, weight is not the only barometer of health. Lack of obesity doesn’t necessarily equate to presence of health. Also, what about the fathers? We know that diet quality affects sperm quality in men, what additional impact might their weight status have on their offspring later in life?