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The Answer Explained: Find out when various aspects of lifelong health are established.


When Does Health Begin?



early pregnancy?

Answer:   All of the above!

Good nutrition
and health over a lifetime are the
best preparation for delivering
healthy children!

Health begins long before pregnancy


A pregnant woman’s ability to supply her developing child’s nutritional needs is shaped, in large measure, by the adequacy of her own stores of fat, muscle, calcium, iron, folic acid, etc.43 Her stores are determined, in part, by her health, growth pattern, and nutrition starting from the time of her own conception.44

Good nutrition helps prevent
birth defects and prematurity.

Health begins at conception


Around the time of conception, folic acid deficiency may lead to birth defects of the spine and brain, the most common of which is spina bifida.45 Taking daily folic acid supplements starting at least one month prior to conception prevents up to 70% of these defects.46

A recent study found that taking folic acid daily for one year prior to conception reduced severe premature birth by 70% and moderately severe premature birth by 50%.47

Good nutrition slows the
aging process. Avoiding tobacco
promotes lifelong health!

Health begins in early pregnancy


All body systems develop during the first eight weeks after conception48 — before many pregnant women are even aware that they are pregnant!

Undernutrition starting early in pregnancy tends to produce babies proportionally reduced in overall size and with internal organs containing fewer cells and altered function.49 These babies may be more prone to future disease50 and their internal organs may start to wear out before old age.51

Prenatal tobacco use reduces delivery of nutrients and oxygen (to mother and baby)52 throughout pregnancy and increases the child’s risk of obesity,53 type II diabetes,54 and lung disease.55

Good nutrition helps
prevent chronic disease.

Health begins in middle and late pregnancy


Undernutrition later in pregnancy may selectively impair rapidly growing organs with significant long-term consequences.56

Undernutrition of the: May lead to future:
Kidneys High blood pressure,*57 renal insufficiency58
Muscles Insulin resistance and type II diabetes,*59 sarcopenia60
Liver Hyperlipidemia,*61 abnormal clotting*62
Pancreas Impaired insulin production, type II diabetes*63

*Elevates risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease)

Good nutrition
pays dividends for life!

Health begins in infancy


Nutrition and growth during infancy help establish each individual’s lifetime risk of conditions such as type I diabetes64 and osteoporosis.65 It is best for most babies when well nourished mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.66

So, when does health begin?


Lifelong health begins long before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and during infancy.

Learn how you can...


Give babies a healthy future


Footnotes
43 Barker DJP, 2008. 80-81, 148.
44 Barker DJP, 2008. 81, 148.
45 Blencowe H et al., 2010. i111.
46 Medical Research Council, 1991. 131; Williams LJ et al., 2005. 580.
47 Bukowski R et al., 2009. 6.
48 Sadler, 2004. 87.
49 Barker DJP, 2008. 36.
50 Ravelli GP et al., 1976. 349; Sayer AA, Cooper C, 2005. 737-738; Godfrey KM, Barker DJ, 2000. 1347S.
51 Barker DJP, 2008. 141-154; Sayer AA, Cooper C, 2005. 737-738.
52 Bergen HT, 2006. 9.
53 Adams AK et al,, 2005. 396-397; Dubois and Girard, 2006. 610; Power C, Jefferis BJ, 2002. 416-417; Montgomery SM, Ekbom A, 2002. 26-27; Bergen HT, 2006. 6; von Kries R et al., 2002. 954, 956.
54 Ong KK, Dunger DB, 2002. 202; International Diabetes Federation website, 2002. e-article.
55 Barker DJP. 2001. 305.
56 Barker DJP, 2008. 36, 80-81.
57 Barker DJP, 2008. 43-45, 129, 149-150.
58 Barker DJP, 2008. 44-45.
59 Jaquet D et al., 2001. 3269; Barker DJP, 1998a. 104, 112.
60 Barker DJP, 2008. 44-45; Sayer AA, Cooper C, 2005. 737-738.
61 Barker DJ et al., 1993. 1524, 1526; Barker DJP, 1998a. 82-85.
62 Barker DJP, 1998a. 92-93.
63 Barker DJP, 1998a. 25, 27-28.
64 Stene LC, Joner G, Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Study Group, 2003. 1128, 1132; The EURODIAB Substudy 2 Study Group, 1999. 51, 53-54; Hyppönen E et al., 2001. 1502; Zipitis CS, Akobeng AK, 2008. 512, 515-516.
65 Zamora SA et al., 1999. 4542.
66 Gartner LM et al., 2005. 498.


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