This finding adds to another well-established benefit of proper folate intake during pregnancy: a reduced risk of neural tube defects, which are malformations of the brain, spinal cord and spine.
The current study, which was published recently in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at more than 1,500 mother-child pairs. Children of mothers who had normal folate levels were less likely to become obese, these Johns Hopkins University researchers found.
Folate is found naturally in many foods, including fruits, vegetables and some meats. In the United States, many cereals, breads and other flour-based products are fortified with folate, a B vitamin.
According to these researchers, the findings of this study may be especially helpful for pregnant women who are obese because these women were more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to be deficient in folate.
Talk to your doctor about how best to get the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients during pregnancy.
The National Institutes of Health and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this research. Information about potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.