Autor: Estefanía Muñoz, Paola Casanello, Bernardo Krause y Ricardo Uauy
(Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile / Universidad de Chile)
There is evidence that malnutrition and severe clinical deficiencies of vitamins and micronutrients at critical stages of brain development affect brain structure and neurological function later in life. The extent to which subtler subclinical deficiencies of these nutrients exert an effect remains unclear. These nutritional deficiencies are more often to be seen in developing countries where the access to adequate diets is restricted. The need of diet supplementation in developed countries remains a matter of discussion; it is likely that only those children poorly nourished respond. It is unreasonable to expect that micronutrients examined in isolation will be associated with differences in cognitive functioning. Furthermore, a diet deficient in one component is also likely to be poor in others and nutrients act in combination in the brain. A multivitamin and mineral approach is probably more beneficial in terms of cognitive development.
The nutritional status of women prior to conception, during pregnancy and lactation has a major impact on her health and the fetus, mainly in fetal growth and development. Therefore, the best moment to deal with the mother?s health is the stage prior to conception in order to optimize the maternal and fetal health. Obesity carries potential health effects and illnesses across the course of life. The prepregnancy obesity and excessive gestational weight gain are strongly associated with increased fetal growth and weight, and have been implicated in the so-called vicious circle transgenerational obesity, affecting adult life of their progeny. In early stages of life humans have the ability to adapt to various environmental stimuli, which is a critical period. Epidemiological evidence supports the concept of adverse effects during association on early fetal development that induces a permanent response in both the fetus and the neonate, at the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases in adulthood, a concept known as «fetal programming«. Therefore, it is vital that public health interventions aimed at controlling nutrient intake and promoting healthy habits are applied in the early life cycle in order to achieve adequate weight and growth of the fetus, resulting in increased life expectancy and quality in the human capital.