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Initiatives to optimise preconception health are emerging following growing recognition that this may improve the health and well-being of women and men of reproductive age and optimise health in their children. To inform and evaluate such initiatives, guidance is required on indicators that describe and monitor population-level preconception health. We searched relevant databases and websites (March 2021) to identify national and international preconception guidelines, recommendations and policy reports. These were reviewed to identify preconception indicators. Indicators were aligned with a measure describing the prevalence of the indicator as recorded in national population-based data sources in England. From 22 documents reviewed, we identified 66 indicators across 12 domains. Domains included wider (social/economic) determinants of health; health care; reproductive health and family planning; health behaviours; environmental exposures; cervical screening; immunisation and infections; mental health, physical health; medication and genetic risk. Sixty-five of the 66 indicators were reported in at least one national routine health data set, survey or cohort study. A measure of preconception health assessment and care was not identified in any current national data source. Perspectives from three (healthcare) professionals described how indicator assessment and monitoring may influence patient care and inform awareness campaign development. This review forms the foundation for developing a national surveillance system for preconception health in England. The identified indicators can be assessed using national data sources to determine the population’s preconception needs, improve patient care, inform and evaluate new campaigns and interventions and enhance accountability from responsible agencies to improve preconception health.
Maternal obesity is a major risk factor for adverse health outcomes for both the mother and the child, including the serious public health problem of childhood obesity which is globally on the rise. Given the relatively intensive contact with health/care professionals following birth, the interpregnancy period provides a golden opportunity to focus on preconception and family health, and to introduce interventions that support mothers to achieve or maintain a healthy weight in preparation for their next pregnancy. In this review, we summarise the evidence on the association between interpregnancy weight gain with birth and obesity outcomes in the offspring. Gaining weight between pregnancies is associated with an increased risk of large-for-gestational age (LGA) birth, a predictor of childhood obesity, and weight loss between pregnancies in women with overweight or obesity seems protective against recurrent LGA. Interpregnancy weight loss seems to be negatively associated with birthweight. There is some suggestion that interpregnancy weight change may be associated with preterm birth, but the mechanisms are unclear and the direction depends if it is spontaneous or indicated. There is limited evidence on the direct positive link between maternal interpregnancy weight gain with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension and obesity or overweight in childhood, with no studies using adult offspring adiposity outcomes. Improving preconception health and optimising weight before pregnancy could contribute to tackling the rise in childhood obesity. Research testing the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of interventions to optimise maternal weight and health during this period is needed, particularly in high-risk and disadvantaged groups.
Online dietary assessment tools can reduce administrative costs and facilitate repeated dietary assessment during follow-up in large-scale prospective studies. We developed an online 24-h recall (myfood24) with automated estimation of associated nutrient intake, and assessed validity against reference recovery, predictive and concentration biomarkers. Validity of the online tool was then compared with that of traditional interviewer-administered multiple-pass 24-h recalls and presented as the expected attenuation of any diet-disease associations estimated with the tool.
Metabolically stable adults were recruited and completed the new online dietary recall, a traditional interviewer-based multiple-pass recall and provided samples of blood and urine for a range of reference biomarkers. Longer-term dietary intake was estimated from up to three recalls taken two weeks apart. Estimated intakes of protein, total sugars, potassium and sodium were compared with urinary biomarker concentrations. Estimated energy intake was compared with energy expenditure measured by three-plane accelerometry and open-circuit indirect calorimetry. Validity against these biomarkers was also compared to that estimated for traditional interviewer-administered multiple-pass 24-hour recalls.
At least one biomarker sample was received from each of 212 participants. Compared to reference biomarkers, both the online 24-hour recall and interviewer-based recall led to attenuation of diet-disease associations. The online tool resulted in attenuation factors of around 0.2–0.3 which could have important effects on estimated risks. For example, if the true relative risk of a diet-disease association was 2.0, an attenuation factor of 0.3 would reduce the relative risk to 1.23. Ranking using intakes against repeated biomarkers as an estimate of truth, resulted in higher attenuation factors of approximately 0.3–0.4, with a smaller impact on risk estimates. Attenuation improved substantially on repeated application of the tool. Validity of the interviewer-based recall found similar attenuation factors, but it was more administratively burdensome and expensive to implement. The online tool typically provided 10–20% lower nutrient estimates compared to the interviewer-administered tool.
Our findings show that, whilst results from both automated online and traditional interviewer-based dietary recalls are attenuated compared to objective biomarker measures, the myfood24 online 24-hour recall is comparable to the more time-consuming and costly traditional interviewer-based 24-hour recall across a wide range of measures. The less burdensome implementation of the online tool, with automated nutrient coding and easy replication over a longer time period with associated gains in precision, makes it well-placed for repeated use in large-scale prospective studies.
myfood24 Is an online 24-h dietary assessment tool developed for use among British adolescents and adults. Limited information is available regarding the validity of using new technology in assessing nutritional intake among adolescents. Thus, a relative validation of myfood24 against a face-to-face interviewer-administered 24-h multiple-pass recall (MPR) was conducted among seventy-five British adolescents aged 11–18 years. Participants were asked to complete myfood24 and an interviewer-administered MPR on the same day for 2 non-consecutive days at school. Total energy intake (EI) and nutrients recorded by the two methods were compared using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), Bland–Altman plots (using between and within-individual information) and weighted κ to assess the agreement. Energy, macronutrients and other reported nutrients from myfood24 demonstrated strong agreement with the interview MPR data, and ICC ranged from 0·46 for Na to 0·88 for EI. There was no significant bias between the two methods for EI, macronutrients and most reported nutrients. The mean difference between myfood24 and the interviewer-administered MPR for EI was −230 kJ (−55 kcal) (95 % CI −490, 30 kJ (−117, 7 kcal); P=0·4) with limits of agreement ranging between 39 % (3336 kJ (−797 kcal)) lower and 34 % (2874 kJ (687 kcal)) higher than the interviewer-administered MPR. There was good agreement in terms of classifying adolescents into tertiles of EI (κw=0·64). The agreement between day 1 and day 2 was as good for myfood24 as for the interviewer-administered MPR, reflecting the reliability of myfood24. myfood24 Has the potential to collect dietary data of comparable quality with that of an interviewer-administered MPR.
Fe deficiency anaemia during early pregnancy has been linked with low birth
weight and preterm birth. However, this evidence comes mostly from studies
measuring Hb levels rather than specific measures of Fe deficiency. The present
study aimed to examine the association between maternal Fe status during the
first trimester of pregnancy, as assessed by serum ferritin, transferrin
receptor and their ratio, with size at birth and preterm birth. In the Baby VIP
(Baby's Vascular health and Iron in Pregnancy) study, we recruited 362
infants and their mothers after delivery in Leeds, UK. Biomarkers were measured
in maternal serum samples previously obtained in the first trimester of
pregnancy. The cohort included sixty-four (18 %) small for gestational
age (SGA) babies. Thirty-three babies were born preterm (9 %; between 34
and 37 weeks). First trimester maternal Fe depletion was associated with a
higher risk of SGA (adjusted OR 2·2, 95 % CI 1·1,
4·1). This relationship was attenuated when including early pregnancy Hb
in the model, suggesting it as a mediator (adjusted OR 1·6, 95 %
CI 0·8, 3·2). For every 10 g/l increase in maternal Hb
level in the first half of pregnancy the risk of SGA was reduced by 30 %
(adjusted 95 % CI 0, 40 %); levels below 110 g/l were
associated with a 3-fold increase in the risk of SGA (95 % CI 1·0,
9·0). There was no evidence of association between maternal Fe depletion
and preterm birth (adjusted OR 1·5, 95 % 0·6, 3·8).
The present study shows that depleted Fe stores in early pregnancy are
associated with higher risk of SGA.
The prevalence of obesity has increased simultaneously with the increase in the consumption of large food portion sizes (FPS). Studies investigating this association among adolescents are limited; fewer have addressed energy-dense foods as a potential risk factor. In the present study, the association between the portion size of the most energy-dense foods and BMI was investigated. A representative sample of 636 British adolescents (11–18 years) was used from the 2008–2011 UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey. FPS were estimated for the most energy-dense foods (those containing above 10·5 kJ/g (2·5 kcal/g)). Regression models with BMI as the outcome variable were adjusted for age, sex and misreporting energy intake (EI). A positive association was observed between total EI and BMI. For each 418 kJ (100 kcal) increase in EI, BMI increased by 0·19 kg/m2 (95 % CI 0·10, 0·28; P< 0·001) for the whole sample. This association remained significant after stratifying the sample by misreporting. The portion sizes of a limited number of high-energy-dense foods (high-fibre breakfast cereals, cream and high-energy soft drinks (carbonated)) were found to be positively associated with a higher BMI among all adolescents after adjusting for misreporting. When eliminating the effect of under-reporting, larger portion sizes of a number of high-energy-dense foods (biscuits, cheese, cream and cakes) were found to be positively associated with BMI among normal reporters. The portion sizes of only high-fibre breakfast cereals and high-energy soft drinks (carbonated) were found to be positively associated with BMI among under-reporters. These findings emphasise the importance of considering under-reporting when analysing adolescents' dietary intake data. Also, there is a need to address adolescents' awareness of portion sizes of energy-dense foods to improve their food choice and future health outcomes.
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