Smaller babies more prone to anxiety, depression later in life

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London, Dec 6 (UNI) People who had a low birth weight are more likely to experience depression and anxiety later in life, a British research reveals.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London showed that a person's weight during birth influences his or her mental health later in life.

''We found that even people who had just mild or moderate symptoms of depression or anxiety over their life course were smaller babies than those who had better mental health,'' said the lead author Ian Colman.

The survey tracked more than 4,600 people born in 1946 for symptoms of anxiety and depression over a 40-year period.

''It suggests a dose-response relationship. As birth weight progressively decreases, it's more likely that an individual will suffer from mood disorders later in life,'' Mr Colman added.

The team, however said this study is not about babies born full-term versus babies born premature, since the data collected made no mention of gestational age at birth.

''Being born small isn't necessarily a problem. It is a problem if you were born small because of adverse conditions in the womb -- and low birth weight is what we looked at in this study because it is considered a marker of stress in the womb. When a mother is really stressed, blood flow to the uterus is restricted and the fetus gets fewer nutrients, which tends to lead to lower birth weight,'' Mr Colman explained.


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