From the Daily Telegraph:
Women who exercise during pregnancy produce 'lighter babies'
As Tim Worstall points out, haven't we been told that low birth weights are a bad thing ever since they were associated with smoking in pregnancy? So are we now going to stop these women exercising?
Dr Paul Hofman, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said: ''Our findings show that regular aerobic exercise alters the maternal environment in some way that has an impact on nutrient stimulation of fetal growth, resulting in a reduction in offspring birth weight.
''Given that large birth size is associated with an increased risk of obesity, a modest reduction in birth weight may have long-term health benefits for offspring by lowering this risk in later life."
I can't say with any confidence whether low birth weights are good, bad or indifferent, but a little consistency from the medics would be nice. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that 'lighter babies' are good/bad depending on whether the researcher is involved in the crusade against smoking or the war against obesity.
And if larger babies really do grow up to be fatter, doesn't that suggest that some people are just born fat and that the so-called 'obesogenic environment' has got nothing to do with it?
Incidentally, I remember reading somewhere (can't find it now) that the weight difference between smokers' and nonsmokers' babies was ridiculously small—something like 9 grammes. Do any of my learned readers have the figures?