Do you know your BMI?
Your body mass index is a number perhaps more predictive for individual health than the one on your birthday cake. It is easy to figure: weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters (kg/m2). Use this online calculator compliments of National Institutes of Health in the United States to figure yours.
- Overweight: BMI greater than or equal to 25.
- Obesity: 30 or more
Personal health suffers –diabetes, heart disease, and cancers are part of the risk list. But disturbingly, as excess weight becomes the norm—almost half of the female population is overweight—unborn children are impacted also. More weight leads to more complications. Gestational diabetes threatens both mother and child, immediately and long-term. This bungling management of glucose usually retreats after giving birth but does increase the mother’s chances of type2 diabetes in the future. The fetus however may suffer in its development.
Erika Isolauri of Turku University Hospital in Turku, Finland and colleagues explored how probiotics may figure in the growing problem. Probiotics in Reducing the Risk of Gestational Diabetes appears in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism online in April of 2015. The work centers on gut microbiota dysbiosis and inflammatory outcomes in obesity. A role for probiotics in prevention of gestational diabetes is discussed.
The authors write:
“Pregnancy appears to be the most critical stage for interventions aiming to reduce the risk of non-communicable disease in future generations, beyond the immediate dangers attributable to the health of the mother, labour and the neonate. Specific probiotic interventions during pregnancy thus provide an opportunity to promote the health not only of the mother but also of the child.”
Luisa F. Gomez Arango and colleagues conclude their research in a paper titled Probiotics and Pregnancy which appears in Current Diabetes Reports:
“Large, well-designed randomised controlled clinical trials along with metagenomic analysis are needed to establish the role of probiotics in adverse pregnancy and infancy outcomes.”
The recent discovery of a microbiome in the placenta throws a new spin on the discussion.
A recent blog here at IPA in February titled Do Microbiota Populate the Fetus? pointed to a review in Pediatric Research by Joann Romano-Keeler and Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp which discusses the current literature on microbial colonization in the fetus and how normal gut microbes produce a healthy neonatal mucosal immune system.
One take-home message: it’s never too early to eat well–probiotics included– and exercise. You men, too. Male contribution may appear miniscule to a healthy pregnancy but that’s what was thought about microbes too.