One of the most important things to ensure when you have a baby is that they're certain to grow up in a healthy environment. While one's first thought is that a happy family is what that means in this situation, there's actually more to it. The actual environment- including the temperature and similar factors- also matters a lot to your baby. A good environment will do wonders for them, but a bad one can do more harm than good.
Your child's early life environment could cause them health problems such as high blood pressure. This includes living in a place that bad eating habits, obesity, smoking and much more. Such factors have already been proven to increase the risk of heart disease for mothers. But a new study has shown that such risks have also been linked to children being more likely to develop high blood pressure later on.
This study looked at data from 1277 mother-child pairings across France, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. All of the participants came from the Human Early-Life Exposome (HELIX) project. Moreover, the children were between the ages of six to 11 years old with previously-stored blood and urine samples. The aforementioned children had no previous health problems, although 10 percent of them could've been classified as either prehypertensive or hypertensive.
The researchers looked into 89 prenatal maternal exposures, as well as 128 postnatal child exposures. Four broad environmental factors were found to influence a child's blood pressure. They include their exposure to chemicals, fish intake, outdoor temperatures and where their mother lived while pregnant with the child. It was discovered that mothers who have children with normal blood pressure lived in a so-called "walkable environment" with the ability to visit restaurants and shops, among other places. Also, these same children lived in a high outdoor temperature area.
Meanwhile, mothers who lived in an environment that wasn't considered "walkable" have children who may develop high blood pressure. Any amount of fish intake- be it low, high or somewhere in between- also contributed to a child's high blood pressure. Finally, there's the exposure to three specific chemicals: bisphenol-A (BPA) concentrations (found in consumer plastics), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) concentrations (found in clothes, household cleaners, and makeup), and copper. A pregnant woman exposed to one or more of these chemicals while pregnant were found to have children who have high blood pressures.
While this study is a strong start in researching the matter, it's only just the beginning. There were limitations such as sample sizes and exposure misclassification that means more research will be required. Having said that, it's clear that a child's environment can either help or harm their health in various manners.