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Maternal nutrition and birth weight

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 01 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:941

These factors are related

  1. Wendy Doyle, senior research officer in nutrition (,
  2. Michael Crawford, professor of nutritional biochemistry,
  3. Kate Costeloe, professor of paediatrics
  1. Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, University of North London, London N7 8DB
  2. St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, Homerton Hospital, London E9 6SR
  3. Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PS
  4. Division of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF

    EDITOR—Mathews et al concluded that maternal nutrition had little effect on birth weight in industrialised countries.1 This was based on maternal nutrient intake during the second trimester of pregnancy in women in Portsmouth, an area where the incidence of low birth weight is relatively low (6.7%) compared with that in England and Wales (7.3%) or in east London and the City of London (8.9%). Furthermore, social classes IIIM, IV, and V were underrepresented when compared with those in the government's nationally representative dietary and nutritional survey of British adults.2

    The conclusions were not surprising for two reasons. Firstly, the mean daily intake from food of energy, fibre, and seven out of 10 micronutrients (reported elsewhere by the authors) was at or above the dietary reference values. If selenium is excluded because of missing information in the data sources used to calculate intake, nine out of 10 micronutrients were above the dietary …

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