Animal studies show that obesity is programmed beginning in utero. Changes in the brain occur as a specific response to fat and remain through adulthood. Animals given high fat diets in the last two weeks of pregnancy (comparable to the second and third trimester in humans) had a burst of cell development affecting the brain area responsible for food regulation (hypothalamus). Despite not being on a high fat diet following birth, the animals were still heavier at puberty. Scientists feel this study is applicable to humans and that body and brain may have programmed features occurring during prenatal development. If anything, the study provides further confirmation of the benefit of eating a proper diet during pregnancy and may explain the “genetic” factor involving weight problems that are seen in families. Neurology Today, December 18, 2008.