The diet and lifestyle choices you made 30 years ago could be shaping the behavior of your grandchildren to this day. Should we be worried?

According to a new Australian study, eating fatty or sugary foods while pregnant will increase the risk of obesity in not only your children, but also their children.

We have known for some time about the direct link between the health of a pregnant mother and her child, but this study reveals it is a “three-generational footprint”.

According to Dr Beverly Mühlhäusler, from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and Professor Margaret Morris, the head of Pharmacology at the University of NSW, there is a strong link between the grandmother’s lifestyle choices and the wellbeing of her grandchild.

Eating habits during pregnancy can unintentionally precondition a child. Eating fatty or sugary foods means the child could not only store fats more easily, but even prefer foods high in saturated fats and sugar.

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If that child is a girl, the eggs in her developing reproductive system will potentially also take on these characteristics.

Professor Morris sums it up simply: “In many respects, you are what your grandmother ate”.

For those of us soon to be grandparents, this news offers some invaluable advice to pass on to new mothers: a little dietary care today – in addition to regular vitamin level checkups – will go a long, long way.

Of course, biology is just one factor of many when it comes to the influence we have on our grandchildren. Regardless of our past decisions, there is no shortage of ways we can help raise a healthy, happy extended family in the here and now.


If you had to do it again, would you have eaten differently? What advice would you give to pregnant mothers today?