Pregnant women who “eat for two” by increasing their consumption of fatty and sugary foods could be putting their unborn children at risk of obesity, new research has shown.

Breast-feeding mothers who indulge in junk food could also increase their children’s chances of weight problems later in life, according to a report in The Times of London.

Babies’ eating habits can be formed while they are in the womb by their mother’s own diets, the study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, suggested.

Click here to read the London Times story

Children who are exposed to “maternal junk food” in the womb or while breast-feeding may have more difficulty resisting unhealthy diet choices when they get older.

“Our study has shown that eating large quantities of junk food when pregnant and breast-feeding could impair the normal control of appetite and promote an exacerbated taste for junk food in offspring," said Stephanie Bayol, of the Royal Veterinary College in London. "This could send offspring on the road to obesity and make the task of teaching healthy eating habits in children even more challenging.”