Adiposity and hyperglycaemia in pregnancy and related health outcomes in European ethnic minorities of Asian and African origin: a review

  • Anne Karen Jenum Institute of Health and Society, Department of General Practice, University of Oslo Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
  • Christine Sommer Department of Endocrinology, Obesity and Preventive medicine, Oslo University Hospital
  • Line Sletner Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo Department of Child and Adolescents Medicine, Akershus University Hospital Norwegian Resource Centre for Women's Health, Oslo University Hospital
  • Kjersti Mørkrid Department of Endocrinology, Obesity and Preventive medicine, Oslo University Hospital
  • Anne Bærug Norwegian Resource Centre for Breastfeeding, Oslo University Hospital
  • Annhild Mosdøl Department of Health, Nutrition and Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
Keywords: Obesity, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, foetal growth, breastfeeding, ethnicity

Abstract

Background: Ethnic minorities in Europe have high susceptibility to type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and, in some groups, also cardiovascular disease (CVD). Pregnancy can be considered a stress test that predicts future morbidity patterns in women and that affects future health of the child.

Objective: To review ethnic differences in: 1) adiposity, hyperglycaemia, and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy; 2) future risk in the mother of obesity, T2DM and CVD; and 3) prenatal development and possible influences of maternal obesity, hyperglycaemia, and pre-eclampsia on offspring’s future disease risk, as relevant for ethnic minorities in Europe of Asian and African origin.

Design: Literature review.

Results: Maternal health among ethnic minorities is still sparsely documented. Higher pre-pregnant body mass index (BMI) is found in women of African and Middle Eastern descent, and lower BMI in women from East and South Asia compared with women from the majority population. Within study populations, risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is considerably higher in many minority groups, particularly South Asians, than in the majority population. This increased risk is apparent at lower BMI and younger ages. Women of African origin have higher risk of pre-eclampsia. A GDM pregnancy implies approximately seven-fold higher risk of T2DM than normal pregnancies, and both GDM and pre-eclampsia increase later risk of CVD. Asian neonates have lower birth weights, and mostly also African neonates. This may translate into increased risks of later obesity, T2DM, and CVD. Foetal overgrowth can promote the same conditions. Breastfeeding represents a possible strategy to reduce risk of T2DM in both the mother and the child. Conclusions: Ethnic minority women in Europe with Asian and African origin and their offspring seem to be at increased risk of T2DM and CVD, both currently and in the future. Pregnancy is an important window of opportunity for short and long-term disease prevention.

Keywords: obesity; gestational diabetes; pre-eclampsia; type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular disease; pregnancy; prenatal development; breastfeeding; ethnicity; immigrants

(Published: 28 February 2013)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2013. 57: 18889 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v57i0.18889

 

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Published
2013-02-27
How to Cite
1.
Jenum A, Sommer C, Sletner L, Mørkrid K, Bærug A, Mosdøl A. Adiposity and hyperglycaemia in pregnancy and related health outcomes in European ethnic minorities of Asian and African origin: a review. fnr [Internet]. 2013Feb.27 [cited 2019Jun.17];00. Available from: https://foodandnutritionresearch.net/index.php/fnr/article/view/549
Section
Migration, nutrition and health