Researchers aim to curb unhealthy weight gain in pregnant women using technological tools

636733798582783320weight scales diet.jpg

24 Sep 2018 --- With proper nutritional guidance and technological tools, it is safe and feasible to restrict weight gain in obese pregnant women, a Northwestern Medicine study has found. The “novel” study, coined MOMFIT (Maternal Offspring Metabolics: Family Intervention Trial), was the first of its kind to include a commercially available smartphone app in the weight-loss approach, according to the research team.

Being obese or overweight during pregnancy can result in serious health problems for the mother and child yet obstetricians are often reluctant to recommend restricted weight gain for pregnant women due to safety concerns for the baby and a lack of tools to safely guide women in their weight control efforts. During pregnancy, weight gain is anticipated and appropriate, but it should be curtailed in overweight and obese women.

The study, to be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, included novel modern approaches. This involved nutritional counseling on a healthy diet, the use of a commercially available smartphone diet app and ongoing coaching via the phone and online in approaching the pregnant participant’s weight-loss.

The obese and overweight women in the study gained five pounds less during their pregnancy than those in the control group and, importantly, their babies were born in the normal weight range. The participants largely followed a DASH-style (Diet Approach to Stopping Hypertension) diet. The women were also encouraged to participate in light exercise.

“It was technologically convenient yet strategic and nutritionally individualized. MOMFIT took a precision medicine approach to healthy eating utilizing a commercially available product,” says lead study author Linda Van Horn, Professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We need to help these [overweight and obese] women, who make up the majority of pregnancies in the US, leverage this unique opportunity during their pregnancy to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle plan that they can follow throughout pregnancy and, hopefully, post-partum.”

“These results show promise in harnessing modern technology to help a mom achieve those goals,” she adds.

The majority of US women of reproductive age are overweight or obese, and the risk of excess gestational weight gain is higher for them than women of healthy weight. Among the risks for women and their babies: diabetes, preeclampsia, hypertension and birth defects.

“MOMFIT demonstrates the feasibility of counseling pregnant women in healthy diet and lifestyle behaviors through nutrition coaching using modern technology,” says Van Horn. “Applying this approach in a clinical setting could help women achieve recommended weight-gain goals during pregnancy and improve postpartum lifestyle behaviors for the whole family.”

Will MOMFIT kids have less risk of developing obesity?
“The next big question is whether the children born to moms who restricted their weight gain will have a reduced risk of becoming obese themselves compared to children whose moms were in the control group,” says Van Horn.

Children born to overweight and obese moms have more than a 50 percent chance of becoming overweight themselves. If both parents are overweight or obese, this risk can increase to more than 70 percent, according to epidemiological data.

The difference in the children's obesity risk won't be evident until they are three, four and five years old, which is when weight trajectories start to separate. Van Horn and colleagues have recently launched a new study - KIDFIT - to monitor the children of the women in her MOMFIT study and determine whether prenatal and/or postpartum diet and lifestyle counseling can help these children lower their risk of obesity.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

A green diet revolution? Calls for radical diet and food production intervention to improve health and the planet

17 Jan 2019 --- Feeding a growing population of 10 billion people by 2050 with a healthy and environmentally friendly diet will be impossible without dramatically transforming the global population’s eating habits, improving food production and reducing food waste. This is according to a Lancet commission of prominent academics that has put forward a planetary health diet.

Health & Nutrition News

Preventative healthcare buzz: Nuritas and Pharmavite partner on bioactive peptides in supplements

16 Jan 2019 --- Irish biotech company Nuritas and supplement manufacturer Pharmavite have partnered in a bid to “transform” the dietary supplements industry. The partnership will combine Nuritas’ artificial intelligence (AI) technology with Pharmavite’s experience across multiple dosage forms. The news is the latest in a string of high profile partnerships for Nuritas, including BASF and Nestlé, and an indicator of Nuritas’ consumer strategy.  

Health & Nutrition News

A failing strategy? Gestational diabetes risk not lowered through reduced weight gain research finds

15 Jan 2019 --- Conventional ways to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus are ineffective and its appearance possibly depends on each individual’s health, according to a recent Pennington Biomedical study. The results found that moms-to-be who ate healthier and less, and increased their physical activity, developed gestational diabetes at about the same rates as women who didn't follow the same lifestyle. The researchers now believe there may be different types of gestational diabetes that warrant different approaches to treatment and prevention.

Health & Nutrition News

Has the haze lifted? As cannabis-derivatives get the green light, NPD expansion is set to grow

15 Jan 2019 --- Cannabis-derivatives, such as hemp and cannabidiol (CBD), have been increasingly cropping up on ingredients lists in the US and elsewhere. A recent ruling, which came as the US Government launched its farm bill in December 2018, alleviates hemp of its illegal status, which is expected to spur further innovation. Part one of this NutritionInsight two-part report into cannabis-derived products in the nutrition and food industry explored the softening regulatory environment. Part two considers how the industry may respond to the opportunities that such regulation shifts may bring to the US and Canada, for example.

Health & Nutrition News

Sustainable nutrition on the agenda for Vitafoods Europe 2019

14 Jan 2019 --- Vitafoods Europe 2019 – taking place on May 7-9 in Geneva – will this year explore the collaboration required to shape a more sustainable future for the nutraceutical industry. The theme choice follows the growing popularity of plant-based ingredients, as well as the demand for more responsible farming methods and the backlash against overly packaged items in recent years.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/researchers-aim-to-restrict-weight-gain-in-overweight-pregnant-women-using-technological-tools.html