A recent study published in the Lancet on Tuesday shows that a child’s health is not only affected by poor diet during pregnancy, but it can be compromised long before procreation due to obesity, or poor diet of the parents.
The study found out that the eating habit of the parents can have “profound implications for the growth, development and long-term health of their children before conception”.
We Need New Guidance To Prepare For Pregnancy
The aim of the study is to raise awareness to all young people and concludes that there should be a new guidance on preparing future parents for pregnancy before conception:
“Evidence for preconceptional effect on lifetime health is now so compelling that it calls for new guidance on parental preparation for pregnancy, beginning before conception.”
Lead author of the study and professor at University College London, Judith Stephenson said the following:
“The preconception period is a critical time when parental health — including weight, metabolism and diet — can influence the risk of future chronic diseases in children. While the current focus on risk factors such as smoking and excess alcohol intake is important, we also need new drives to prepare nutritionally for pregnancy in both parents.”
Babies have a higher risk of immune diseases, diabetes, heart attacks and stroke if one or both parents are obese. The egg and embryo’s development is directly altered by maternal obesity, causing inflammation. Obese men have a deficiency in sperm.
Moreover, mothers that don’t have a proper nutrition can also lead to problems of development in the offspring. And that’s not everything! The authors stated that the consequences are even more worrying, because they will “extend across generations, but awareness of these links is not widespread”.
Most Women Are Not Nutritionally Prepared for a Pregnancy
The study used analysis of women between 18-42 years old, from Britain and Australia. It showed that the women were not prepared for pregnancy on a nutritional level. About 96% of them had low iron and folate levels. The problem is that adjusting a mother’s diet during the pregnancy is not good enough, said the study:
“Micronutrient supplementation started in pregnancy can correct important maternal nutrient deficiencies, but it is not sufficient to fundamentally improve child health”.
This is why the study calls for a better health and nutrition education among teenagers, also prepare young adults for parenthood, since 40% of the pregnancies in the world haven’t been planned.
The authors conclude that “efforts to improve nutrition and health behavior at a population level are needed to support individual efforts among those planning ahead of e pregnancy.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere