A study by Peleg-Raibstein and colleagues shows that maternal overnutrition may breed obesity in the next generation. In the study, a group of female mice was given a high-fat diet before mating, during pregnancy, and during lactation .
Offspring of these mice consumed more palatable food than other mice. Therefore, maternal overnutrition may lead to overeating, which is a risk factor for obesity  .
Various types of rewards, including food, alcohol and other drugs, share the same system in the brain. Peleg-Raibstein found that maternal overnutrition sensitizes offspring’s reward system as a whole . This makes mice want more rewards of all kinds, and work harder to get them.
In the case of humans, this can mean running very fast to cafeteria to get the donut, or something worse, like spending all your income on drugs.
Why should I care? You may be thinking that because your children are well protected from drugs. However, even if they never use drug recreationally, they may have to use drugs like opioids for medical reasons in the future.
This is not a rare occurrence. The national opioid prescription rate in 2017 is 58.7 prescriptions per 100 people . Opioids for medication also have reward value, and users with sensitized reward system may be more prone to abusing such drugs.
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