Food insecurity ups risk of weight gain during pregnancy

May 24th, 2010 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 24 (IANS) A person’s inability to obtain adequate amounts of food due to resource constraints can lead to greater weight gain and increased complications during pregnancy, says a recent study.
“Prior studies have shown that women living in food insecure households are more likely to experience health complications,” said study co-author Craig Gundersen, who is a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois, US.

According to the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, 14.6 percent of households were food insecure at some time during 2008, up from 11.1 percent in 2007.

This is the highest recorded prevalence rate of food insecurity since 1995, when the first national food security survey was conducted.

For the study, a total of 810 low-and middle-income pregnant women were surveyed during January 2001 to June 2005. Women were surveyed at the beginning of their pregnancy and a follow-up survey was administered after the birth of their child.

“We looked at the effect of food insecurity on a variety of health factors related to pregnancy,” Gundersen said.

“We found that food insecurity is associated with a higher body mass index (height to weight ratio), greater weight gain during pregnancy, and a higher risk for the development of gestational diabetes,” said Gundersen, whose results were published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

“These health issues are a concern as they can lead to assorted negative medical conditions,” he added.

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