Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Taking iron in pills for pregnancy make babies healthier

2017-04-21T11:13:32+00:00June 24th, 2013|Pregnancy|

"Daily iron in pregnancy reduces small baby risk," BBC News reports, with a similar story in the Daily Express. The news stories follow a major review of the best available evidence on the link between use of iron supplements during pregnancy, and pregnancy and birth outcomes. The pooled results suggest that, compared with no supplements, taking iron supplements increases the mother’s haemoglobin levels, and halves the risk of the mother becoming anaemic during pregnancy. Supplements also resulted in the baby being on average 41.2g heavier at birth and reduced the risk of low birthweight by 19%. The findings showed a dose-response relationship, with higher doses being associated with lower risk of maternal anaemia and lower risk of low birthweight. Overall, this offers evidence to back iron supplementation during pregnancy. However, this review focussed on low, middle and high income countries. Women do need increased iron during pregnancy, but in the UK, should be able to get all the iron they need in their diet (such as from leafy vegetables). Currently, iron supplements are recommended if pregnancy blood tests show that the mother is anaemic. They are not routinely offered to all pregnant women due to the potential for side effects. Folic acid supplements are, however, recommended while trying to conceive and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Imperial College, London. Funding was provided by the Bill [...]

Vegetarian diet linked to longer lifespan

2017-04-21T11:13:32+00:00June 6th, 2013|Exercise, Lifestyle, NHS|

“Veg diet key to living longer,” reports today’s Daily Express front page headline. Its story is prompted by a large, well-designed, long-term study into vegetarian dietary patterns and their effects on reported mortality (death). The main finding was that vegetarians had a 12% reduction in the risk of death from any cause compared with non-vegetarians. However, the researchers’ definition of ‘vegetarian’ was quite broad and may horrify some vegetarians as it included people who ate meat and fish once a week or less. Dietary patterns were only measured at the start of the study, and these can change over time. The study also had a relatively short follow-up to determine whether dietary patterns might affect the risk of death. It’s also worth noting that vegetarians tended to live healthy lifestyles, and this could have influenced the results. While this study cannot show direct cause and effect between diet and death risk, it highlights an important point. Even if you do not want to stop eating meat there is plenty you can ‘borrow’ from the ‘vegetarian lifestyle’ to improve your health, such as eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Where did the story come from? The study was carried out by researchers from Loma Linda University, California and was funded by the US National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal, JAMA Internal Medicine. The results of the research were generally well covered in the media. However, the Mail Online website [...]