25 January 2019 In Pregnant Women

AIM: This paper systematically reviews the literature on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on early child development from birth to 5 years with the aim to synthesize the developmental outcomes associated with prenatal alcohol exposure, and inform further research to improve our knowledge of the manifestations of prenatal alcohol exposure.

METHODS: Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Psych INFO, and Psych ARTICLES) were searched to find papers on the developmental outcomes of prenatal alcohol exposure in neonates, infants and toddlers and pre-school aged children. Studies were selected based on participants self-reporting alcohol consumption during pregnancy (either prospectively or retrospectively) and/or children being diagnosed with FASD based on a standardized assessment that includes a dysmorphology examination. The search was limited to peer-reviewed, English language studies involving human subjects, up to 5.5 years old.

RESULTS: Out of the 1,684 titles screened, a total of 71 papers were identified as relevant and included in this review. The majority of studies were prospective longitudinal studies. A range of assessment modalities (or tools) was used to determine neurodevelopmental outcomes of prenatal exposure to alcohol in the age group under review, the most frequently described being the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (BSID) (n = 19). Studies varied in terms of the dose, frequency, and timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and methodology used to assess alcohol consumption. Findings demonstrate extensive evidence for poor global developmental outcomes in children prenatally exposed to alcohol, particularly with moderate to severe levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.

CONCLUSION: The outcomes related to lower levels of prenatal alcohol exposure as well as outcomes in specific developmental domains, are poorly understood. Further research should aim to clarify the more subtle or less easily measurable manifestations of prenatal alcohol exposure on early development when the potential for greatest impact of interventions is highest.

25 January 2019 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVES: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a worldwide problem. Maternal alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for FASD. It remains unknown which alcohol consumption patterns most strongly predict FASD. The objective of this study was to identify these.

DESIGN: Systematic literature review.

METHODS: We searched in PubMed, PsychINFO, PsycARTICLES, ERIC, CINAHL, Embase and MEDLINE up to August 2018. The query consisted of keywords and their synonyms related to FASD, pregnancy and behaviour. Studies were excluded when not published in English, were reviews or involved non-human subjects. Substantial heterogeneity precluded aggregation or meta-analysis of the data. Instead, data were qualitatively inspected.

RESULTS: In total, 21 studies were eligible for further data analysis. All studies that measured both maternal alcohol drinking behaviours and FASD reported retrospective data on maternal drinking patterns, employing both continuous and categorical measures and exhibiting substantial heterogeneity in measures of alcohol consumption (eg, timing of exposure, quantification of alcohol measure and definition of a standard drink). Study quality improved over time and appeared higher for studies based on active case ascertainment, especially when conducted in schools and when behaviour was assessed through interviews.

CONCLUSIONS: We aimed to identify specific maternal drinking behaviour(s) related to FASD. The state of the literature precludes such conclusions. Evidence-based preventive measures necessitate identifying which prenatal alcohol drinking behaviour(s) are most in need of intervention. Therefore, we formulate three recommendations for future research. First, future studies can optimise the value of the collected dataset through specifying measurements and reporting of maternal drinking behaviours and avoiding categorised measures (nominal or ordinal) whenever possible. Second, samples should not be selected based on FASD status, but instead, FASD status as well as maternal alcohol consumption should both be measured in a general population sample. Finally, we provide 10 reporting guidelines for FASD research.

27 July 2018 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between an overall maternal healthy lifestyle (characterized by a healthy body mass index, high quality diet, regular exercise, no smoking, and light to moderate alcohol intake) and the risk of developing obesity in offspring.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort studies of mother-child pairs.

SETTING: Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII) and Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: 24 289 GUTS participants aged 9-14 years at baseline who were free of obesity and born to 16 945 NHSII women.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Obesity in childhood and adolescence, defined by age and sex specific cutoff points from the International Obesity Task Force. Risk of offspring obesity was evaluated by multivariable log-binomial regression models with generalized estimating equations and an exchangeable correlation structure.

RESULTS: 1282 (5.3%) offspring became obese during a median of five years of follow-up. Risk of incident obesity was lower among offspring whose mothers maintained a healthy body mass index of 18.5-24.9 (relative risk 0.44, 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.50), engaged in at least 150 min/week of moderate/vigorous physical activities (0.79, 0.69 to 0.91), did not smoke (0.69, 0.56 to 0.86), and consumed alcohol in moderation (1.0-14.9 g/day; 0.88, 0.79 to 0.99), compared with the rest. Maternal high quality diet (top 40% of the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 diet score) was not significantly associated with the risk of obesity in offspring (0.97, 0.83 to 1.12). When all healthy lifestyle factors were considered simultaneously, offspring of women who adhered to all five low risk lifestyle factors had a 75% lower risk of obesity than offspring of mothers who did not adhere to any low risk factor (0.25, 0.14 to 0.47). This association was similar across sex and age groups and persisted in subgroups of children with various risk profiles defined by factors such as pregnancy complications, birth weight, gestational age, and gestational weight gain. Children's lifestyle did not significantly account for the association between maternal lifestyle and offspring obesity risk, but when both mothers and offspring adhered to a healthy lifestyle, the risk of developing obesity fell further (0.18, 0.09 to 0.37).

CONCLUSION: Our study indicates that adherence to a healthy lifestyle in mothers during their offspring's childhood and adolescence is associated with a substantially reduced risk of obesity in the children. These findings highlight the potential benefits of implementing family or parental based multifactorial interventions to curb the risk of childhood obesity.

27 July 2018 In General Health

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: To examine the prevalence and design elements of the voluntary health warning labels and related industry initiatives on a purposive sample of alcoholic beverage containers sold in New Zealand (NZ), a country with no mandatory health warning labels.

DESIGN AND METHODS: We selected a purposive (e.g. low-cost) sample of 59 local and imported beers, wines and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage containers available in NZ in 2016-2017. We documented the occurrence, content, size, appearance and position of messages concerning drinking during pregnancy, drink-driving, other health effects and industry-led initiatives that could relate to warnings; and collected data about alcohol content, standard drinks, ingredients and energy information.

RESULTS: A majority (80%) of the alcoholic beverage containers had a pregnancy-related warning, 73% had industry-led initiatives (e.g. advising 'responsible' consumption) and 19% had drink-driving/heavy machinery warnings. Warning labels were small, with the average area of pregnancy-related and drink-driving/heavy machinery pictograms being 45 and 36 mm(2) , respectively (i.e. pea-size). The average heights of pregnancy-related and drink-driving text were 1.6 and 2.2 mm, respectively. Pregnancy-related pictograms occupied between an average of 0.13% (wine) and 0.21% (ready-to-drink) of the available surface area of the alcoholic beverage container (i.e. less than 1/400th of the available space). Drink-driving pictograms occupied an average of 0.12% (imported beer), and 0.13% (NZ beer) of the available surface area.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Voluntary recommendations in NZ appear to have been inadequate for producing health warnings on alcoholic beverage containers that are consistent with evidence-informed recommendations for effective labels. This finding suggests that mandatory standardised labelling outlining alcohol-related risks may be required to ensure adequate consumer information.

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