The correlation between socioeconomic status and healthy diets: An overview
Socioeconomic status (SES) has had a strong influence on diet quality, a claim recognized since the 1930s and one that is well supported by epidemiologic data. The affluent have more access to higher-quality, nutrient-dense but typically more expensive food while the underprivileged are often forced to choose cheaper, energy-dense food options. Today’s soaring food prices tend to increase the disparities in diet seen across the socioeconomic gradient.
Energy, weight gain and food-based dietary recommendations during pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy has a threefold goal: to provide for the mother’s nutritional needs, contribute to a healthy development and birth of the newborn, and prepare for an adequate lactation period. Dietary recommendations around the world principally advocate an appropriate micronutrient intake and a balanced energy intake. On the food intake level, this translates to a high focus on nutrient-dense foods throughout pregnancy.
Vitamin and mineral recommendations during pregnancy
During pregnancy, national and international health authorities advocate a higher intake of key vitamins and minerals to meet maternal and fetal needs. However, substantial cross country variation exists in the recommended micronutrient levels. This highlights cultural and dietary differences, but also the ongoing scientific discussions on the optimal diet during pregnancy.
Suboptimal micronutrient intakes in pregnancy
Maternal nutrition in pregnancy is very important as it supports the health of the mother and unborn infant. With an increasing demand during pregnancy, suboptimal micronutrient intakes are however a recognized risk. Research suggests that in developing as well as developed countries, suboptimal intakes are prevalent.
Fetal programming and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders
A growing body of evidence suggests that increased cardiometabolic risk originates in the womb. Over the past few years increasing attention has been paid to the effects that nourishment in utero may have on the development of the fetus as well as on later growth, structure and metabolism of tissues and body systems. This resulted in the “fetal programming” concept as a critical parameter in explaining the early origins of cardiometabolic disorders.
Pregnancy, common discomforts and diet
Pregnancy is commonly accompanied by a number of physical side effects, which influence the ability to meet dietary recommendations during the gestation period. Such side effects mainly manifest themselves as nausea and vomiting (i.e. 'morning sickness'), constipation, and/or heartburn, and occur in up to 70% of pregnant women. In most cases, the effects are mild and can be relieved by making some small lifestyle and dietary changes.
Associations between parental body weight and children’s body weight – Chinese studies including pregnant and non-pregnant parents
High birth weight (>4000 g) is associated with increased risk of obesity; it is also associated with increased risk of obesity from childhood to early adulthood. Increasing body weight during childhood has an impact on clinical outcomes when children grow older. A large body size as of 5 to 6 months of age, and fast weight gain before 2 years of age are related to large body size at age 5 to 13 years.