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LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-119
 

Increasing evidence of significance of nutrition during prenatal period: Pregnant women deserve better share of economic development


Department of Community Medicine, Kamineni Institute of Medical Sciences, Sreepuram, Narketpally, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication19-May-2014

Correspondence Address:
Varun Malhotra
Department of Community Medicine, Kamineni Institute of Medical Sciences, Sreepuram, Narketpally, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.132738

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How to cite this article:
Malhotra V. Increasing evidence of significance of nutrition during prenatal period: Pregnant women deserve better share of economic development. Indian J Community Med 2014;39:118-9

How to cite this URL:
Malhotra V. Increasing evidence of significance of nutrition during prenatal period: Pregnant women deserve better share of economic development. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Jul 23];39:118-9. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2014/39/2/118/132738


Sir,

Role of nutrition during prenatal period for health of mother and fetus is well established. Main concerns of Public Health Experts in developing nations are limited to protein-energy malnutrition, and deficiencies of micronutrients mainly iron, iodine, and folic acid. Diets deficient in proteins-calories are one of the important causes of low-birth weight babies, whereas micronutrient deficiencies are related to anaemia (iron, folic acid, and vitamin B 12), hypothyroidism (iodine), and neural tube defects (folic acid). [1] This forms the basis of supplementation of micronutrients during antenatal period in India.

During last decade randomized controlled trails in the field of nutrition have established causal associations between micronutrient deficiencies during fetal and early infancy with increased risk of non-communicable diseases in adulthood. Hypertension (vitamin A, calcium, and iron), lung diseases (vitamin A), altered kidney function (iron, zinc), T2DM (vitamin A, folate, Iron, vitamin B12, and zinc), and cardiovascular diseases (zinc, calcium, and folate) are chronic non-communicable diseases related to deficiencies of micronutrients during early life. [2],[3],[4],[5] Recently, studies in the field of neuropsychiatry are augmenting the role of nutrition during antenatal and infancy in prevention of schizophrenia, a neuro-developmental disorder in which gene-environment interaction begins in the womb, but the disease manifests in late adolescence or adulthood. Role of vitamin D supplementation during infancy and of phosphatidylcholine (which converts into choline in vivo) supplementation during 2 nd and 3 rd trimesters and first three months of life in reducing the risk of schizophrenia in adult life have neuro-psychiatrists visualize primary prevention of schizophrenia, a disorder that affects about 1% of adult population, and disrupts physical, mental and social health of patients, and quality of life of families of victims. [6],[7]

One of the functions of public health is to 'formulate, promote, and enforce essential public health policies'. [8] In India, public health experts, generally, fail in their duty in proactively shaping public health policy of our Nation. We should ensure that the resources are distributed judiciously, and in consonance with our vision of Healthy India. The PM has announced that the allocation for health during 12 th Five-Year-Plan will be three times as compared to 11 th Plan allocation. Food Security Bill is also on the anvil. It is right time to develop public opinion for better nutrition for women in ante- and postnatal periods. Nutritious diet during these periods for women in rural areas, urban slums, and below poverty line (BPL) families in urban areas, is 'need of the hour' to move a step closer to our vision. It will improve antenatal coverage, decrease incidence of low-birth weight babies, and mitigate many macro- and micro-nutrient deficiency diseases, not only during childhood, but also chronic non-communicable diseases in adult population.

The role of nutrition in early life is gaining significance day by day. It is high time that the Nation appreciates that life begins in the womb, and not on the day of birth.

 
   References Top

1.Muthayya S. Maternal nutrition and low birth weight-what is really important. Indian J Med Res 2009;130:600-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]    
2.Christan P, Stewart CP. Maternal micronutrient deficiency, fetal development, and the risk of chronic disease. J Nutr 2010;140:437-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Harder T, Rodekamp E, Schellong K, Dudenhausen JW, Plagemann A. Birth weight and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2007;165:849-57.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.van Mierlo LA, Arends LR, Streppel MT, Zeegers MP, Kok FJ Grobbee DE, et al. Blood pressure response to calcium supplementation: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hum Hypertens 2006;20:571-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Pan J, Baker KM. Retinoic acid and the heart. Vitam Horm 2007;75:257-83.   Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.McGrath J, K Saari, Hakko H, Jokelainen J, Jones P, Jarvelin M, et al. Vitamin D supplementation during the first year of life and risk of schizophrenia: A Finnish birth cohort study. Schizophr Res 2004;67:237-45.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Ross RG, Hunter SK, McCarthy L, Beuler J, Hutchison AK, Wagner BD, et al. Perinatal choline effects on neonatal pathophysiology related to later schizophrenia risk. Am J Psychiatry 2013;170:290-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Detels R. The scope and concerns of public health. In: Detels R, Beaglehole R, Lansang MA, Gulliford M, editors. Oxford Textbook of Public Health, 5 th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009. p. 4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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