14/08/2014 16:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Teenage Mums Have An Increased Risk Of Obesity

Link between obesity and young mums established by scientists

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that teenage mums have a higher risk of obesity, with young women who give birth to their first child before they are 19 a third more likely to be overweight.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that significantly fewer women who gave birth in their teens were of normal weight compared to those who had their first babies later.

The author of the report, Dr Tammy Chang, said it was the first time they had identified young mums as being a specific high risk group for obesity.

"When taking care of teen mums, we often have so many immediate concerns – childcare, housing, school, social and financial support – that we don't often think of long-term health effects," she said, adding that obesity was one of the 'most debilitating long-term health issues we face'.

The study looked at women aged between 20 and 59 and found teenagers who had their first baby before 19 had a 32 per cent higher risk of obesity than those women who were 20 or older when they gave birth.

Dr Chang said further studies were now needed to better understand the link between teenage mums and obesity.

"Obesity is a prevalent, expensive health problem and it's difficult to reverse, which is why it's incredibly important to identify at-risk groups early so that we can intervene," she said.

Studies suggest around 15 per cent of British women are now obese when expecting a child – up from seven per cent 20 years ago.