Study Description: Obesity is a complex disorder that is affected by many different factors. The number of overweight or obese children has increased from double to triple over the past 25 years in the USA. Childhood obesity affects most ethnic groups, every socioeconomic status, and wide age ranges of children. Childhood obesity causes many health problems that are known to be associated with increased risk of death. The link between maternal smoking and low birth weight has been established, but it is unclear how maternal smoking during pregnancy would affect childhood obesity as cigarettes contain much else besides nicotine. Determining a specific link between maternal smoking and later childhood obesity is difficult. During pregnancy the fetus is exposed to high levels of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is used to help in the development of different parts of the fetus, however if cortisol reaches uncontrollably high levels, it can create genetic changes in the offspring. Maternal stress can also influence the growth and development of the offspring. The purpose of this study is to test the association between maternal cortisol and psychosocial stress and genes and to test how maternal smoking affects the DNA of the offspring. We would also like to test how maternal smoking moderates the relationship between maternal cortisol, psychosocial stress and genes.
Principal Investigator: Gregory Harshfield
Eligibility Criteria: Pregnant and without major complications
Compensation: Yes, subjects will be compensated.
Compensation Explanation: Participants will receive a Clincard filled with $30.00 for each visit. There will be a total of 4 visits. The total possible payment will be $120.00 per mother/child couple.
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