By now, the harmful effects of smoking while pregnant are well-publicised, but scientists have determined just how dangerous passive smoke is to toddlers.
According to a new research study, smoking around a toddler can have the same effects on a child’s future weight gain as smoking can have on an unborn child.
Researchers at the University of Montreal collaborated on the study with their counterparts at the CHU Sainte Justine Research Centre, and uncovered some pretty frightening statistics.
They found that by the age of 10 years, children who were exposed to smoke (either intermittently or continuously) had waists up to a full inch wider than their peers. Furthermore, these kids’ BMI score were up to .81 points higher.
Commenting on the findings, lead author Linda Pagani said that the study emphasises just how dangerous second-hand smoke can be.
“This prospective association is almost as large as the influence of smoking while pregnant. Early childhood exposure to second-hand smoke could be influencing endocrine imbalances and altering neurodevelopment functioning at this critical period in development,” she said.
She added that the damage is heightened by the fact that young children require two to three times the ventilation that adults need.