Prevention of chronic diseases begins even before the start of life. The diet and the health of men and women, who intend to become parents, not only determine the course of the desired pregnancy: they have a decisive influence on the chances of their children and grandchildren for a long life in health and well-being (1). However, there is no general understanding of these relationships, neither in developed, nor in middle-income and low-income countries.
Three publications in the journal The Lancet now focus on promoting health with a comprehensive approach to Preconceptional Health in advance of pregnancy (2). The aim is to improve the nutritional status of women and men, who are actively planning to become parents, as well as to support a healthy diet of populations of reproductive age as a whole. In doing so, both parents should be equally motivated to assume responsibility by adjusting nutritionally to possible pregnancy. The experts distinguish three time windows for assistance in prevention:
- From a biological point of view: days to weeks before embryonic development
- From the perspective of an individual life plan: weeks to months before the planned pregnancy
- From a health policy perspective: months or years to reduce established risk factors for chronic diseases
The most important factor in caring for the still unborn children is a healthy, balanced micronutrient-rich diet.
A schema summarizes the intentions (3).
Read and see more:
(1) Cf. WHO. Early child development – Preconception care, available at http://www.who.int/topics/early-child-development/preconception/en/
(2) Series from the Lancet Journals. Preconception health. The Lancet. Published: April 17, 2018, available at http://www.thelancet.com/series/preconception-health:
J Stephensons et al. (2018): Before the beginning: nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health. In: The Lancet, Vol. 391, Nr. 10132, S. 1830-1841. Available at https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30311-8/fulltext
TP Fleming et al. (2018): Origins of lifetime health around the time of conception: causes and consequences. In: The Lancet, Vol. 391, Nr. 10132, S. 1842-1852. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29673874/ M Barker et al. (2018): Intervention strategies to improve nutrition and health behaviours before conception. In: The Lancet, Vol. 391, Nr. 10132, S. 1853-1864. Available at https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30313-1/fulltext
(3) Vgl. Figur 1 in M Barker et al. (2018); Intervention strategies to improve nutrition and health behaviours before conception. In: The Lancet, Vol. 391, 1893-1864.. Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673618303131?via%3Dihub