Challenges of Addressing Overnutrition and Undernutrition During Pregnancy in Chile/Latin America
Francisco Mardones, MD, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Department of Public Health, Chile
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Challenges of both overnutrition and undernutrition face pregnant women in the Chile/Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. Dr Mardones focuses on the need for agreement on maternal anthropometric classification of nutritional status and weight gain guidelines in the LAC region. Recommendations for the optimal weight gain for pregnant women differ from the norm in the United States, mainly because the latter weight-gain guidelines were not determined proportionally for the individual height of each woman. This inhibits use in the LAC region because women show an important variability in height-1 SD of mean height is about 6 cm. Dr Mardones also discusses the importance of body composition and birth length, discussing studies that show that birth length strongly predicts adolescence height and that birth weight's effect disappears when adjusting for birth length. He also reviews the effect of birth weight as an indicator of fetal growth and its relationship to general mortality, obesity rates in school-age children, and metabolic syndrome factors.