Babies born to older mothers are no more likely to suffer health problems later in life than those with younger ones, researchers claim.

In recent years, studies appear to show that such children were more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes.

Scientists speculated that this was because the eggs from which they developed were less healthy.

But German researchers have cast doubt on the theory and say that the mother’s education and number of years she is alive are far more important.

Professor Mikko Myrskyla of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, in Rostock, looked at data on 18,000 adults in the United States.

He found that those whose mothers had been aged 35 to 44 were no more likely to die, be obese or suffer from long term health problems as adults than those born to women aged 25 and 34.

In fact children born to teenage mothers or those in their early twenties were far more likely to be ill as adults, he found.