Smoking in pregnancy makes daughters more likely to be short, obese - study

A hand holding a cigarette.
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Adult daughters of women who smoke during early pregnancy are more likely to be short and overweight, according to a new study.

Liggins Institute lead investigator Dr Jose Derraik told Newshub chemicals from cigarettes affect the way a foetus uses energy.

"How the babies actually store fat, as well as affecting growth in the long term."

The New Zealand-Sweden study found daughters of women who smoke in early pregnancy are 51 percent more likely to be short and 47 percent more likely to be obese as adults.

Dr Derraik said it is dose-dependent.

"In other words the mothers who are heavier smokers had daughters who had an even greater risk of developing obesity when they became adults."

The long-term impacts from being shorter are significant.

"A number of studies have shown that people who are shorter than the average, they tend to have lower salaries."

The findings were published in journal Scientific Reports.