Tessa said it was such an important field of research, with maternal obesity and gestational diabetes contributing to significant, long-term health challenges for unborn children.
“We know from earlier research by fellow Kolling researchers A/Professor Sarah Glastras and Professor Carol Pollock that these maternal factors can influence foetal programming, and alter an unborn child’s future metabolic risk. This in turn increases the likelihood of ongoing weight issues,” she said.
“The prevalence of child and adolescent obesity is increasing, with an alarming 25 per cent of children in Australia over the healthy weight range.
“Childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and psychological conditions.
“All of these issues can have a life-long impact, compromising quality and even length of life, so it’s tremendously important we drive research progress in this area and broadly improve the quality of care provided to women and their babies.
“Overall, this scholarship is not only helping me complete my PhD studies, and broaden my experience as a clinician-researcher, it will also hopefully improve the future health of countless children born to women with gestational diabetes and obesity.”