In DepthEpidemiology

Staying slim during pregnancy carries a price

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Science  03 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6401, pp. 440
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6401.440

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Japan’s obsession with slender women may harm unborn children and create long-term health problems for the Japanese population. Already, one in five Japanese women is starting pregnancy underweight, and many scientists have criticized the country’s official guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy as too strict. Now, a new study shows that many pregnant women strive to keep their weight gain below even those targets. This combination of factors has produced an unusually high percentage of low weight births, which is likely the reason that the height of the average adult Japanese has declined every year for those born after 1980. The trend could create long-term health problems, scientists warn, and effect longevity.