A little sunshine during pregnancy could help your baby avoid childhood weight problems.
Researchers from the University of South Hampton followed nearly 1,000 pregnant women, measuring their vitamin D levels during pregnancy and tracking their baby's weight after birth. Even after other factors were taken into account—such as weight gain during pregnancy and physical activity levels—it was clear that moms with low vitamin D levels had children who were more likely to be overweight by the time they were 6 years old.
Lack of vitamin D during pregnancy can "remain with the baby and predispose him or her to gain excess body fat in later childhood," says researchers. Other studies that involved adults have also shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and obesity.
Are you getting enough vitamin D? Check your prenatal vitamin to make sure it contains the recommended 400 IU of vitamin D—and then get outside! Experts say about 20 minutes of direct sun exposure is enough to stimulate vitamin D production. The vitamin can also be found in fortified milk, egg yolks, and salmon. (Check out our list of 15 foods high in vitamin D.)