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While it has been a long-accepted truth that obese mothers give birth to similarly obese children, a new study reveals a possible reason why this happens.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers led by Kristen E. Boyle of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, investigated stem cells extracted from umbilical cords of babies delivered by women of either normal weight or obese figures. Initial findings showed that the cultured stem cells of umbilical cords from obese mothers produced 30 percent more fat cells than those from women of normal weight.

"Our study looked at the mechanism by which children may be preprogrammed for increased obesity risk, because of changes occurring in utero," said Boyle in a news report."It's clear that there is an inherent propensity toward more fat content in the cells from offspring of obese moms, in culture. We also know that the fat accumulation in these cells corresponded to the baby's fat mass at birth. The next step is to follow these offspring to see if there is a lasting change in adulthood," she added.

The ongoing research will next look into the potential of the stem cells to exhibit signs of insulin resistance and other metabolic alterations. After all, obesity is one of the primary precursors to Type 2 Diabetes.

The study was presented during the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.