Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938


By Stephen Luntz

Brief bites of science news.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Pregnant Weight Gain Has Lasting Effects

The avoidance of excessive weight gain during pregnancy can have benefits for both mother and child, as well as improving the chances for a natural birth, Prof Lesley McCowan of the University of Auckland Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has confirmed. “Big babies become big children and big adults later on,” said McCowan. “If we can reduce that happening, we can have a big public health impact.”

In a study of almost 2000 women in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, McCowan found 17.2% gained the recommended amount, 8.6% gained less and 74.3% put on more. Those in the last category had babies that were heavier at birth and more likely to be delivered by caesarean.

“Most women who gain too much weight are not able to lose that weight after pregnancy, and it puts those women on a trajectory to becoming obese,” McCowan said.

Stand Up for Your Health

Just sitting down for 4 hours per day is enough to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Emma George, a PhD student at the University of Western Sydney’s School of Science and Health, sorted more than 63,000 Australian men aged 45–64 according to the time they spent sitting. “The rates of chronic diseases reported by the participants exponentially increased in proportion with the amount of time the participants spent...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.