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Inadequate maternal micronutrient status during pregnancy can lead to short- and long-term health risks for mother and offspring. The present study investigated the association between pre-pregnancy weight status and micronutrient status during pregnancy.
Maternal blood samples were collected during early pregnancy (median 13, interquartile range 12–15 weeks) and were assayed for serum folate, ferritin, Fe and vitamin B12. Regression modelling was used to assess the association between pre-pregnancy underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient levels, as well as the odds for deficiencies.
The Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) study, the Netherlands.
Women with singleton pregnancies without diabetes (n 4243).
After adjustment for covariates, overweight women and obese women had lower (β; 95 % CI) folate (−1·2; −2·2, −0·2 and −2·3; −4·0, −0·7 nmol/l, respectively) and Fe (−1·7; −2·3, −1·1 and −3·6; −4·7, −2·6 μmol/l, respectively) levels than women with normal weight. Furthermore, overweight women had 6 % (95 % CI −9, −3 %) and obese women had 15 % (−19, −10 %), lower vitamin B12 levels, and obese women had 19 % (6, 32 %) higher ferritin levels, than normal-weight women. Obese women had higher odds (OR; 95 % CI) for folate deficiency (2·03; 1·35, 3·06), Fe deficiency (3·26; 2·09, 5·08) and vitamin B12 deficiency (2·05; 1·41, 2·99) than women with normal weight. Underweight was not associated with micronutrient status.
During early pregnancy, women with pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity had lower serum folate, Fe and vitamin B12 status. This resulted in increased risk of serum folate, Fe and vitamin B12 deficiencies in women with obesity.
This chapter takes as its starting point the ‘information approach’ which is the basis of current EU consumer protection legislation. It argues that the findings of behavioural economics suggest that the ‘information approach’ does not in practice achieve the protection of the consumer which it is trying to achieve. Insights and techniques gained from behavioural economics can be used as the basis for more effective consumer protection legislation, while at the same time respecting the principle of consumer autonomy which is the fundamental (though sometimes unstated) principle of EU internal market law.
This paper reports on a project conducted between 2008 and 2011 that was established to allow eight Australian Indigenous men who had been in prison to tell their stories of incarceration.
The Shed in Western Sydney, NSW, Australia, was set up in response to the high male suicide rate in that area, its objective being to support men at risk. Aboriginal men were the most at risk, and they are presently imprisoned at a rate of 13 times more than non-Indigenous men. This small project sought to give voice to the men behind the statistics and point to a significant problem in Australian society.
Interviews were conducted by an Indigenous male, questions covering age at first entering the penal system, number of prison stays, support, and health. This paper is framed around responses to these questions.
All but one of the men were recidivist offenders, and over half were under 15 years of age when first offending. All talked about a lack of support both inside and after leaving prison, and alcohol and depression figured strongly in the accounts. Disadvantage and social exclusion, lack of support such as access to housing and health services, figure significantly in the men’s stories. It is only when social issues are addressed that any gains will be achieved and a cycle of recidivism broken.
Currently biofuels hardly make a difference in the big picture, but they may fill an essential niche in future, for instance as aviation fuels. Care will need to be taken to avoid competition for land and water between biofuels and food production.
Coal, oil and gas started out as plant biomass millions of years ago. Plant biomass is currently the biggest energy source in Africa. Even in coal- and electricity-rich South Africa, many families still burn wood and charcoal. Provided the biomass is sustainably harvested, burning biomass is approximately carbon neutral – in other words, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the fire is the same as the amount originally removed from the atmosphere when the plant grew. Approximately the same amount of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere when replacement plants grow.
Modern biomass energy technologies are much more thermally efficient than traditional wood-burning fireplaces, stoves or charcoal kilns. Wood, grass and forestry or agricultural waste can be burned in carefully controlled furnaces, producing energy at a cost quite similar to coal, but without most of the pollution. The problem is that biomass energy is generally spread out all over the landscape, rather than concentrated in a mine, like fossil fuels. The costs of moving it to the power plant can be high. Therefore, efficient use of biomass energy requires a shift from a few enormous power stations to many small power stations.
One of the most intractable future renewable energy challenges is to provide liquid fuels for ships, trains, vehicles and aeroplanes. Some of these modes of transport can use electricity directly from the grid or stored in batteries. Yet despite great advances in battery technology, their ‘energy density’ (that is, the energy stored per unit mass of the battery) remains too large to be a viable power source for aircraft. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels have a much higher energy density than current batteries. Biomass can be converted to liquid fuel, which can substitute for petrol, diesel and aviation fuel. Biofuels can also be blended with liquid fossil fuels, reducing the overall total carbon footprint. There are several paths to make liquid fuels from biomass:
• Oil can be extracted from many species and converted to a diesel fuel suitable for trucks, trains and jets.
• Sugars and starches can be fermented to form ethanol, which can be burned in many internal combustion engines. […]
A warming trend is already apparent in South Africa, and it is much higher than the global average rate. Thus, relative to the present, temperatures in the interior of the country could rise by about 3°C by the end of the century if the countries of the world greatly and urgently reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but by up to 6°C if they do not.
The global average air temperature measured near the surface in 2010 has risen by 0.8°C since 1870 when accurate records began and, measured over multi-decade periods, the rate of warming has been accelerating. The rise in air temperature has been unsteady: there is a general upward trend interspersed by some long periods of no change, or even cooling. For instance, in the decade after 2000 there was little overall rise, just as there was little rise in the period 1945–1968, but in between were periods of rapid rise. Such pauses are to be expected when a complex system such as Earth's climate is nudged up, even if the nudging is relatively continuous, as the increase in greenhouse gases has been. Some of the cooling periods are associated with variable global weather patterns and specific events. Altered ocean circulation such as recurrent La Niña phenomena in the equatorial Pacific Ocean cools Earth, as do large volcanic eruptions that fill the atmosphere with reflective dust and sulphate aerosols. These eruptions can cool Earth's atmosphere by up to 0.5°C for two to three years. Tellingly, the heat content of the ocean, which is much larger than the heat content of the atmosphere, has kept going up. Despite the temporary cooling periods, there is a consistent overall upward trend in average global temperatures. The annual average air temperature in South Africa has risen by around 1.2°C over the period of accurate records.
In the medium term, global warming in the northern hemisphere will generally exceed that in the southern hemisphere because oceans, which dominate the southern hemisphere, warm more slowly than the land. Despite this, the rate of warming in South Africa is nearly twice the average rate recorded worldwide so far. This is partly because inland regions of South Africa are distant from cooling oceanic influences. It is also because much of South Africa falls within a dry belt broadly corresponding to the Tropic of Capricorn.