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Featured articles 2013

No association between intake of marine n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during second trimester of pregnancy and factors associated with cardiometabolic risk in the 20 year old offspring.

Intake of omega 3 fatty acids, mainly found in seafood, has in a number of studies been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Since the development of CVD often is a lifelong process, intake of omega 3 fatty acids early in life may also affect the development of later CVD. Previous studies from the same study group investigating the effect of supplementing with fish oil during the last trimester of pregnancy, showed no effect on cardiovascular risk factors in the 19 year old offspring. However, the foetus goes through a dramatic development in utero and the timing of intake could be important for later risk.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the relation between maternal intake of omega 3 fatty acid during second trimester of pregnancy and cardiovascular risk factors in the 20 year old offspring. The study was based on the follow-up of the offspring from a Danish pregnancy study from 1988-89. A total of 965 pregnant women were originally included in the study and detailed information about the intake of omega 3 fatty acids during second trimester was collected. In 2008-2009 the offspring were invited to an examination including measuring of height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure. Also, a fasting blood sample was drawn.

A total of 443 of the offspring participated in the study. No relation between intake of omega 3 fatty acids during second trimester of pregnancy and offspring cardiovascular risk factors could be detected.
In conclusion, intake of omega 3 fatty acids during 2nd trimester of pregnancy was not related to cardiovascular risk factors in the 20 year old offspring. The results do not support changing the recommendations for intake of omega 3 fatty acids in pregnant women.

Rytter D, Bech BH, Haldorsson T, Cristensen JH, Schmidt EB, Danielsen I, Henriksen TB, Olsen SF. Br J Nutr 2013. Epub ahead of print.

 

Consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks in pregnancy may increase risk of child asthma and hay fever

In a previous study we found that children to mothers who had a high intake of low-fat yoghurt during pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma and hay fever. We hypothesized that artificial sweeteners could be responsible as these compounds are often added to low-fat/’light’ products to compensate for flavour or reduce sugar content.

We therefore examined the relation between intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks during pregnancy and child asthma and hay fever using data from nearly 60,500 women participating in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Women in this study filled out a questionnaire on their food intake during pregnancy and we used this data to estimate their intake of carbonated (like ‘fizzy’ drinks) and non-carbonated (like lemonade) artificially-sweetened beverages. The mothers reported on their child’s health (including asthma) when the child was 18 months and 7 years. We also accessed the children’s health information from the national registers using their unique identification number.

We found that mothers who consumed non-carbonated artificially-sweetened soft drinks were more likely to report child asthma when the child was 18 months compared to women who did not drink these beverages. Mothers who drank carbonated artificially-sweetened drinks were more likely to have a child with an asthma diagnosis in the national registries; they were also more likely to report hay fever in their child at age 7.

The results were not strong and therefore only suggested a relation between maternal intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks during pregnancy and child asthma and hay fever. We therefore encourage other large cohorts to replicate our findings and animal studies to look for potential mechanisms. Further and stronger evidence will help us to make better recommendations for intake of artificially-sweetened soft drinks for women during pregnancy.

Maslova E, Strøm M, Olsen SF, Halldorsson TI. Consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks in pregnancy and risk of child asthma and allergic rhinitis. PLoS One 2013. 8(2): e57261.