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To provide a better understanding of dietary intakes of pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries.
Systematic review was performed to identify relevant studies which reported nutrient intakes or food consumption of pregnant women in developing countries. Macronutrient and micronutrient intakes were compared by region and the FAO/WHO Estimated Average Requirements. Food consumption was summarized by region.
Developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean and Central/South America.
Pregnant women in the second or third trimester of their pregnancies.
From a total of 1499 retrieved articles, sixty-two relevant studies were analysed. The ranges of mean/median intakes of energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate were relatively higher in women residing in the Caribbean and Central/South America than in Africa and Asia. Percentages of energy from carbohydrate and fat varied inversely across studies in all regions, whereas percentage of energy from protein was relatively stable. Among selected micronutrients, folate and Fe intakes were most frequently below the Estimated Average Requirements, followed by Ca and Zn. Usual dietary patterns were heavily cereal based across regions.
Imbalanced macronutrients, inadequate micronutrient intakes and predominantly plant-based diets were common features of the diet of pregnant women in developing countries. Cohesive public health efforts involving improving access to nutrient-rich local foods, micronutrient supplementation and fortification are needed to improve the nutrition of pregnant women in developing countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health . Overweight and obesity are usually diagnosed when weight normalized for height, or body mass index (BMI: weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters, kg/m2), exceeds a defined threshold. In 1995, the WHO proposed a BMI classification for adults as a form of diagnosing excess adiposity . According to this classification, individuals are considered overweight when their BMI is ≥25; those between 25 and 29.9 are designated as pre-obese and they are classified as obese when their BMI reaches or exceeds 30kg/m2 (Table 1.1). Many authors also use the term “overweight” to designate pre-obese individuals (BMI 25–29.9), which gives rise to some confusion, unless the specific range of BMI is specified. Although BMI does not directly measure the percentage of body fat, it offers a more accurate assessment of excess adiposity than weight alone. Due to its simplicity, BMI categorization is the preferred obesity measurement for clinicians, public health specialists, and researchers, and is currently used worldwide to track adult overweight and obesity prevalence .
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