Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weight Gain During Pregnancy & Childhood Obesity

One of favorite things about being involved with AdvoCare is the incredible trainings they provide on different topics- from financial education, debt freedom, personal growth & development and leadership, to various health issues.
It is especially neat to me that they provide opportunities for distributors to meet the doctors, be trained by them, and ask them questions. We have FULL access to them all the time, which I’m sure is unique. I have had the privilege of hearing from several of the doctors on different occasions and they are all incredible.  I recently heard Dr. Leanne Redman speak and absolutely love hearing her share a glimpse of her knowledge. She does a fantastic job of making her intelligent ‘doc talk’ understandable in layman’s terms. Dr. Redman is so passionate about her work & research (which I love and appreciate) and enjoys paying that forward and teaching us so we can help others. (Of course I wanted to pass on what I have learned in hopes it might help someone else.)
She is one of the esteemed doctors on our Science and Medical Advisory board, particularly in women’s reproductive health. (Leanne M. Redman, Ph.D., MS - Assistant Professor, Head, Reproductive Endocrinology & Women’s Health Lab, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La.) You can read a little more about her and what she does here:
Dr. Redman is currently heading up some cutting edge research on women’s health- specifically focusing on weight gain during pregnancy and how it affects children. She referred to women as the “nutritional gatekeeper of the home”…Wow, what a responsibility we have! One of her current goals is to educate mothers regarding proper nutrition, and in her current project, she is partnering with W.H.O. in hopes to see childhood obesity plateau by the year 2020.  (If you look at & you get an idea of why supplementation is so important. Also wrote this post a while back about why supplementation is important.)

The # 1 killer in America is cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the #1 risk factor is obesity (and the chronic diseases related to obesity). Unfortunately, kids are in the growing population of Americans suffering from CVD as more than 16% of children are obese.
It is no secret America is in a health crisis. According to the CDC:
Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.
Chronic Diseases are the Leading Causes of Death and Disability in the U.S.
  • 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.1
  • In 2005, 133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – had at least one chronic illness.2
  • Obesity has become a major health concern. 1 in every 3 adults is obese3 and almost 1 in 5 youth between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese (BMI ≥ 95th percentile of the CDC growth chart).4
  • More than one-third of all adults do not meet recommendations for aerobic physical activity based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and 23% report no leisure-time physical activity at all in the preceding month.9
  • In 2007, less than 22% of high school students10 and only 24% of adults11 reported eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

These statistics are not surprising. As the “nutritional gatekeeper,” many women are the ones doing the shopping, cooking, meal prep, etc. Because we are so BUSY & on the go, and many mothers are working outside the home and simply don’t have enough time in the day to do it all, we often choose convenience over quality. Understandably so, but unfortunately our health & our children’s health is paying the price. (Not to mention we are living a more sedentary lifestyle than ever- have you read statistics about the amount of time a typical American spends sitting in front of a screen?) I am not blaming women by any means, but that is why I am so passionate about educating others & helping them take control of their health. Taking care of our health & our temple enhances our quality of life AND allows us to serve at a greater capacity. And THAT is my ultimate passion, calling, & goal. To serve the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength- and raise children to do the same.

According to Dr. Redman, the most CRITICAL time of development in one’s life is from pregnancy to the first two years of a child’s life. That is approximately 1,000 days….around 276 in gestation and around 730 days during the first two years of life. Nutrition in the womb has a major impact on a child’s metabolic rate, obesity potential, etc. “Many Americans of all ages struggle with weight gain, and many pregnant women work to meet new guidelines that provide healthy levels of weight gain during pregnancy. In most cases, pregnant women are gaining weight in excess of the recommended guidelines. As a result, both mothers and babies are faced with an increasing probability of negative health outcomes.” (source) Basically, the whole “eating for two” theory is a myth. And it is imperative to get in as much good, quality nutrition as possible during pregnancy. Moms-to-be focus on SO many things to give their child the best- from diaper brands, to planning the nursery, to picking out the perfect type of baby lotion. In reality, one of the best things we can do for our babies (besides pray like crazy- something else I firmly believe in) is EAT right. Check out this article that validates the importance.

I know it can be tough with nausea and cravings, etc., but when possible, we need to eat well so we set our children up well.  A growing body of research suggests we can even help prevent autism by taking a quality prenatal and eating a diet rich in Folic Acid. (source)
I know women use pregnancy as an excuse. They think of it as a time to indulge & do not like to monitor their weight.  In reality, THIS is the time to be more conscious of diet than ever! Definitely consult with your doctor to determine a game plan regarding supplements. Make sure to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible. Maybe try smoothies? (Great way to pack in some fruits and veggies!) Unfortunately many medical professionals do not have an extensive background in nutrition & do not cover it for a significant amount of time in medical school. That is why I believe it is so important to help educate others who simply may not have the knowledge.
Conclusion: What you eat during pregnancy & what you feed your children is important. Educate yourself. Make the effort. It’s worth it.
Check these out as well:
Nursing: What I Eat & What I Take
Nutrition During Pregnancy
Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
Baby Led Weaning: Introducing Solids

(Diclaimer:  I’m sure some pregnant women or mothers will be offended by this post. I gained 29 lbs with my first pregnancy and ate more junk than I should have, so I am definitely not perfect by any means. However, hearing this research makes me want to step my game up and eat even better to ensure I continue to give my kids the healthiest possible choices during their first years of life.  I wrote this post solely for the purpose of educating, informing, and helping women who may not have the knowledge. I am also not a doctor or nutritionist & encourage you to check with your medical professional before beginning any supplements.)


P!nky said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! :)

Emily said...

I read last week on my pregnancy update thing that a pregnant woman should ONLY consume an extra 300 calories a day!!! That is a BIG wake up call! Def not "eating for two!"

My midwife was BEYOND impressed with the meal replacement shakes! I really think it's the perfect breakfast choice for a pregnant mama and really helps prevent the morning sickness issues!

It's one of those "easier said than done things" as far as eating healthy while pregnant though. I'm glad you included the note at the end! B/c I know I came into this pregnancy saying I'd eat healthier like I had been prior to getting pregnant. But omg. Last night, for example, I ate a bite of green beans and literally gagged and had to spit them out in my napkin (never happens!!!). Smoothies are def a good idea that may help me get down the "yuckier tasting" foods!

Anonymous said...

My only comment in "criticism of this" which I hope you won't see as rude, is that women who suffer from very severe morning, or all day, most of pregnancy nausea and vomiting, often cannot eat well, even if they wanted to. My last pregnancy, literally the only thing that my constantly throwing up and continually nauseous body would tolerate was McDonald's fries and full fat cola, until I was 32 weeks pregnant, and those are things we rarely eat normally. My husband would bring one home each night, I would eat it, then lay down, and it would stay down, where no other food would (I ended up in hospital twice for re hydration and meds twice) and my doctor basically said "you have to eat, what you can keep down, so we can avoid you being in hospital more" and that was what I had to do. I don't think we should use pregnancy as an excuse to pig out, but it's also not easy for some women to eat well or even take vitamins or supplements (I ended up not being able to even tolerate those, for most of my pregnancy either, no matter what brand we tried to force down)