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Maternal diet could be linked with low birth weight

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Maternal diet could be linked with low birth weight

CREAL researchers have observed that maternal diet was associated with dioxin-like activity in maternal blood during pregnancy and this prenatal exposure might lead to reduced birth weight. Dioxins are found in extremely low concentrations in the environment but are very toxic. Even so they remark that more studies are needed to develop updated dietary guidelines for women of reproductive age, aiming to the reduction of dietary exposure to persistent organic pollutants as dioxins and dioxin-like compounds.

Dr Manolis Kogevinas, codirector of CREAL, an ISGlobal research centre, adds that “the mothers who consumed foods with high levels of dioxins had, on average, babies that were around 120g smaller than those consuming foods with low dioxin levels”.

Furthermore, the results show that levels of dioxins from food in mothers in Spain and Denmark were higher than those of women from Greece; Norway and the UK.

The NewGeneris study, used validated food frequency questionnaires to assess the diet of pregnant women from Greece, Spain, United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway and estimated plasma dioxin in 604 maternal blood samples collected at delivery. In the five country population, dioxin-diet score was characterized by high consumption of red and white meat, lean and fatty fish, low-fat dairy and low consumption of salty snacks and high-fat cheese, during pregnancy.

WHO has estimated that more than 90% of human exposure to dioxins is through the food supply, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish. Consequently, protecting the food supply is critical. This includes source-directed measures to reduce dioxin emissions. Furthermore, Good controls and practices during primary production, processing, distribution and sale are all essential to the production of safe food.

Reference: Papadopoulou E, Kogevinas M, Botsivali M , Pedersen M, Besselink H, Méndez MA, Fleming S , Hardie LJ , Knudsen LE , Wright J, Agramunt S, Sunyer J, Granum B, Gutzkow KB , Brunborg G , Alexander J , Meltzer HM, Brantsaeter AL, Sarri K, Chatzi L, Merlo DF, Kleinjans JC, Haugen M. Maternal diet, prenatal exposure to dioxin-like compounds and birth outcomes in a European prospective mother-child study (NewGeneris). Sci Total Environ 2014; 484C: 121-128 (in Press).


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