Nutrition during pregnancy influence the future health of the child
The mother's diet during pregnancy can affect the health of the baby, even years later. To understand this "nutritional programming", and can potentially enable the early prevention of certain metabolic diseases, several teams of researchers working on what they call the "fetal origins of adult disease".

A link between maternal nutrition during pregnancy and child health
A study of survivors of the famine that struck the Netherlands in 1944-1945 was particularly shown that when pregnant women had suffered famine, their children were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

The subjects of the cohort affected by famine Holland are still followed today and interesting results still be obtained. Researchers have recently shown by example that subjects exposed to malnutrition before birth, ie during the first 16 weeks of gestation, prefer to eat fatty foods, which could increase their risk of high cholesterol if these foods are high in saturated fats and trans fats. These people also tend to be less physically active.

It is clear from this research that changes in nutrition at certain stages of pregnancy may give very different results for child health. Currently, two projects funded by the European Union, the EDEN study (Study of the determinants of pre-and postnatal development and child health) and the EARNEST project (Project on early nutritional programming) bend detail on these issues.
What aspects of development and health programming nutritional influence it?
Several aspects of health and well-being of infants appear to be influenced by the nutritional status of the mother's weight before pregnancy and weight gain during pregnancy. These phenomena affect the baby's size at birth and the risk of prematurity. We know, for example, according to several studies, a low birth weight is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study conducted in the project EARNEST reveals a balanced diet during pregnancy, including good sources of omega-3 (fish oil such as salmon, herring and mackerel), can protect some degree of chronic diseases like asthma and possibly have a beneficial effect on the immune system.

Other studies have shown that high intakes of omega-3 during pregnancy favor the growth of the baby before birth and reduce the risk of prematurity. However, these studies did not take into account the body mass index (BMI) of the mother.

Health in adulthood could be determined to some extent by nutrition during infancy. Breastfeeding is best for the baby for a number of psychological and physiological reasons. Studies have shown that breastfed infants were less likely to become obese in adulthood and that 5 to 7 months of breastfeeding seemed to produce the most favorable results. This observation supports the recommendations of the World Health recommends that exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life.

Barker DJ. (1997) Fetal nutrition and cardiovascular disease in later life. Br Med Bull 53:96-108

Lussana F, Painter RC, Ocke MC, Buller HR, Bossuyt PM, Roseboom TJ. (2008) Prenatal exposure to the Dutch Famine is associated with a preference for fatty foods and a more atherogenic lipid profile. Am J Clin Nutr 88:1648-1652

Drouillet P et al. (2008) Maternal fatty acid intake and fetal growth: evidence for an association in overweight women. The 'EDEN mother-child' cohort (study of pre-and early postnatal determinants of the child's development and health). Br J Nutr 101:583-591

Olsen SF, Salvig JD, Mortensen LM, Rytter D, Secher NJ, Henriksen TB. (2008) Fish oil intake compared with olive oil intake in late pregnancy and asthma in the offspring: 16 y of registry-based follow-up from a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 88:167-175

O'Tierney PF, Barker DJ, Osmond C, KAJANTIE E, Eriksson JG. (2009) Duration of breast-feeding and adiposity in adult life. J Nutr 139 (2): 422S-5S

WHO (2001) The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding - a systematic review. Available at:


Post a Comment

Type your comments here


My Favorite Links!