« PREGNANCY AND NUTRITION »
A better diet during the pregnancy for a healthy baby Obesity is the 21st century disease. This epidemic is mainly attributable to increasingly sedentary lifestyles, overnutrition and junk food. Obesity is posing a growing threat to health in countries worldwide and will be the leading cause of death and disability this century. It has been declared by the World Health Organisation as the largest global chronic health issue in adults, which, by 2025, will emerge as a more serious world problem than malnutrition.
As more and younger women are affected, it is obvious that obesity will concern more and more pregnant women. Maternal obesity and increased weight gain during pregnancy have been linked with the delivery of macrosomic infant. Moreover, under the hypothesis of the developmental origins of adult disease, there is evidence linking macrosomia to diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome in adolescents as well as adults.
Hopefully, obesity development is not inevitable! We – doctors, nurses, midwives, governments and public authorities – have to help pregnant women, not only for obese women but for all of them, to get a better diet and to manage a healthy pregnancy for a healthy baby. The pregnancy is probably the better moment to change the habits of pregnant women. Szwajcer et al. reported that women are more aware to lifestyle advices during this period. In addition, when they report excessive intake of high-fat and high-sugar foods, they are more likely to intend to reduce the intake of these foods (Gardner B et al.).
Although the rules are simple and easy – at least five fruits and vegetables a day – it seems that everything is still yet to be done! Indeed, Zhao et al. have shown that, over the last decade, the consumption of fruits and vegetables ≥5 times/day during pregnancy did not increase sufficiently. We need to improve this result. Roll up our sleeves!