Transition in the Nutritional Status on Pregnant Women

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Jaime Rozowski and Carmen Gloria Parodi

Summary In most developing countries, including Chile, an epidemiologic and nutrition transition has taken place, the former characterized by an increase of the population due to a reduced mortality, followed by a decrease in fertility and an increase in longevity. The nutrition transition has been characterized by an increase in the consumption of fats and simple sugars and a decrease in fruit and vegetable intake. This, together with a decrease in physical activity, has contributed to an increase in the prevalence of obesity in fertile women. Data collected from 36 developing countries showed that in 32 of them, overweight was more prevalent than underweight in urban areas, while in 53% (19/36) underweight was more prevalent in rural areas compared to urban settings. In all of those countries, the prevalence of overweight was significantly correlated with gross national income per capita. Different surveys in Chile have shown that 90% of homes have a television set, 60% of all families own at least one car, 27.3% of women aged 17-44 are obese, and 90% of them do not perform any significant physical activity. The consequence of all this is that women are getting to pregnancy heavier than they used to, resulting in an increase in complications during pregnancy including gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and delivery complications, all of which can affect the newborn at birth and in later life. This chapter defines the characteristics of the nutritional transition and concentrates in a discussion of obesity during pregnancy and its consequences at birth and in later life.

Keywords: Nutrition transition, Pregnancy, Obesity, Birth outcome, Gestational diabetes

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