OBESITY among mums can impact the health of their children and make them age quicker, according to new research.

The effects of obesity in mums, which includes an increased chance of diabetes and heart disease, can be passed along to babies says research newly published in The Journal of Physiology.

Researchers at the Salvador Zubiran National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, in Mexico City and University of Wyoming at Laramie, studied offspring of obese rat mothers.

The team of scientists studied the rats at different stages of life, including puberty, early adulthood, late adulthood and early ageing.

Offspring of obese mothers had more body fat and showed early prediabetic signs such as an early rise in insulin resistance, increasing susceptibility to diabetes.

Offspring of the obese mothers also showed impaired function of their mitochondria, the power stations of cells that generate the energy cells need to function properly. These changes make it more likely that organisms will develop heart disease.

Exercise was shown to improve the effects of obesity which had been passed to the babies from their mothers.

But the new findings only add to growing evidence that conditions in the womb and early life, including a mum's weight, can cause offspring to become more susceptible to diseases and cause them to age faster.

Results of maternal obesity were also different among male and female offspring, though the exact reason for this has not yet been confirmed, it is believed to be hormonal in nature.

Elena Zambrano, the senior author of the study, commented on the research saying: “This reinforces the link between maternal obesity and the ageing of offspring, specifically around the increased likelihood of developing diabetes and heart disease.

"Encouragingly, in previous studies we have shown that exercise by the offspring can off help offset the risks brought about by maternal obesity.”