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A pregnant woman, in the last trimester of her pregnancy, poses in this illustration photo Reuters

A new study, published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, has revealed that children between the ages of 7 and 9 may be at greater risk of developing asthma if their mothers drank a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages while pregnancy.

"Avoiding high intake of sugary beverages during pregnancy and in early childhood could be one of several ways to reduce the risk of childhood asthma," study lead author Sheryl Rifas-Shiman of Harvard Medical School said.

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The researchers conducted the study with over 1,000 mother-child pairs in the US. After their first and second trimesters, mothers who participated in the study completed questionnaires about their food and beverage consumption, including regular soda and fruit drinks.

This process of completing questionnaire was again repeated by the mothers when their children reached early childhood (3.3 years). They reported their children's consumption of a variety of foods and beverages, including regular sodas and fruit drinks. Reports suggest that in mid-childhood, 19 percent of the children had asthma.

The mothers in the highest quartile of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption during pregnancy were 63 per cent more likely than those in the lowest quartile to have mid-childhood-age kids with asthma, the findings showed.

According to the researchers, other studies have also found links between obesity and asthma and between sugar-sweetened beverage and high fructose intake and increased asthma risk. In addition to increasing asthma risk through obesity, recent studies also suggest that fructose itself may cause inflammation in the lungs.

(With inputs from Indo-Asian News Service)