Heart disease linked to babies’ birth weight

Both the mothers and fathers of babies with low birth weights are more likely than others to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, a Swedish study published on Monday showed.

While the connection between a person’s birth weight and their medical problems later in life has been well-documented, the new study conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm claims to be the first extensive survey revealing a link to the health of the parents as well.

The study, which is based on health surveys of the parents of all 783,814 babies born in Sweden between 1973 and 1980, found that a child’s low birth weight is especially an indicator of health risks for its mother, but that the father also is likely to face higher risks, according to the Karolinska Institute.

“The most important result was the (revealed) clear reverse connection between the child’s birth weight and the father’s risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Genetic factors are the probable explanation for this observation,” the institute said in a statement.

“Low birth weight is associated not only to deaths linked to cardiovascular disease but also to an increased risk (for the parents) of death for any reason,” it added.