(ABC News) - Scientists now say that exposure to a mother's cigarette smoke - while in the womb - increases a child's risk for obesity.
The correlation between smoking and obesity shocks some mothers, like Kari Sharp of Salt Lake City, "It surprises me that it leads to obesity." However, others says they are not surprised. Merissa - a Salt Lake City woman says "I'm overweight and my birth mother was overweight. She not only did drugs, but smoked during her pregnancy with me."
Here are the details of the study, which can be found in the Archives of General Psychiatry. 378 teenagers were used for the study. They were ages 13 through 19. Some of the teens had been exposed to maternal smoking - some had not. Those who were exposed weighed less, on average, at birth, but by the time they were teenagers - compared to those not exposed to smoke - they had a higher body weight, a higher body mass index and a higher total of body fat.
The exposed teens also showed a lower volume in the Amygdala, an area of the brain that is associated with limiting the amount of fat we consume. Researchers believe this may increase a preference for fat. A preference that can contribute to obesity.