Preventing obesity transmission during pregnancy

A much neglected part of the obesity epidemic is that it has resulted in more overweight/obese women before and during pregnancy. Their offspring also tend to have higher birth weights and more body fat, and carry an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases later in life. However, the nutritional factors and mechanisms involved pre and during pregnancy that may influence child obesity remain uncertain. A recent publication by ILSI Europe identifies and discusses key contributing factors leading to obesity.

In an article recently published in Annals of , potential key contributors to obesity, including nutrition, during and after pregnancy were identified. Prenatal factors may include , gestational weight gain and metabolic perturbations during pregnancy. Postnatal diet and feeding practices along with activity patterns and family lifestyle may also modify or determine the long-term health risks.

A majority of clinical studies have examined maternal dietary information in isolation. Combining the large number of current maternal and infant studies and including analysis of both sets of nutritional data would be a great step forward. The publication indicates that "this introduces the challenge of how to unify the findings made, as each study varies considerably in the breadth and depth of dietary data collected".

In addition, with regard to gestational weight gain, Prof Michael Symonds, University of Nottingham, UK highlighted that it "should not be used on its own but in a larger context. It should be complemented by measures of , metabolic and endocrine responses in the mother and offspring". Better knowledge of these contributors and the mechanisms involved could result in more targeted nutritional advice to women, especially those that are obese, to improve nutrition and health status before, during or after pregnancy. It is vitally important to prevent (the development of) excess fat mass to both the mother's own, and their infant's future health.

The publication summarises the conclusions of a workshop organised by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Europe in October 2011. This work has been commissioned by the Metabolic Imprinting Task Force of ILSI Europe.

More information: M. Symonds, et al. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2013; 62:137–145

Provided by International Life Sciences Institute

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inflammation may link obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Jan 10, 2012

A number of different immunological mechanisms ensure the successful establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Imbalance in these mechanisms is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. In a review published in Advances in ...

Pre-pregnancy BMI important indicator of offspring obesity

Apr 17, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy correlates with body mass index (BMI)-based overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity at age 16, but maternal pre-pregnancy ...

Early healthy nutrition vital for later life

Feb 08, 2013

What a mother eats before and during pregnancy can impact on her offspring in many ways, a University of Aberdeen researcher will tell a conference in Edinburgh today (February 7).

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

9 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

11 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

11 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.