If you’re expecting a baby, one of the most important things that you’re probably concerned with is your nutrition. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one particular area that should warrant your attention is whether or not you’re getting enough vitamin D since a deficiency may lead to obesity in children later on.

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Researchers studied the vitamin D levels of 977 women from the larger Southampton Women’s Survey as well as their kids’ weight. Based on their reports, children whose mothers had low levels of vitamin D during their pregnancies were more likely to be overweight by age six compared to those whose mothers had sufficient vitamin D.

While a slightly chubby child is probably cute at age six, there may be less obvious consequences waiting in the wings. "In the context of current concerns about low vitamin D status in young women, and increasing rates of childhood obesity in the UK, we need to understand more about the long-term health consequences for children who are born to mothers who have low vitamin D status," says lead researcher Dr. Siân Robinson.

However, lack of vitamin D doesn’t only affect children’s weight. One study in has found that vitamin D deficiency is also associated with early-onset severe preeclampsia or pregnancy-related high blood pressure. According to the study, African American women may find themselves more likely to have this condition. They are also more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D. Apparently, darker complexions may make the natural synthesis of sunlight on the skin less effective.

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Sunlight isn’t your only source of vitamin D, though. If you want to increase your intake of vitamin D, researchers suggest eating more salmon, swordfish, milk and eggs.

(Photo by Asbjørn Floden via Flickr Creative Commons)

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