Indian Journal of Medical Research

: 2011  |  Volume : 133  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 122--123

The window of opportunity: Pre-pregnancy to 24 months of age

Pratap Kumar 
 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal 576 104, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Pratap Kumar
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal 576 104, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Kumar P. The window of opportunity: Pre-pregnancy to 24 months of age.Indian J Med Res 2011;133:122-123

How to cite this URL:
Kumar P. The window of opportunity: Pre-pregnancy to 24 months of age. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 May 25 ];133:122-123
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Full Text

The window of opportunity: Pre-pregnancy to 24 months of age, D.J.P. Barker, R.L. Bergmann, P.L. Ogra, editors (S. Karger, Basel, Switzerland) 2008. 266 pages. Price: US $ 228.00

ISBN 978-3-8055-8387-9

Nestle has published this excellent book on how nutrition can have effect on growth, immunity and disease in very early part of life including embryonic period. Authored by pioneers in the field, the book has dealt in details, highlighting the latest research in the field, the little traversed area of nutrition of women in preconception period, during pregnancy, foetal nutrition via mother, immunity and their relation to overall growth, health and disease in childhood and as an adult.

The sixteen chapters are divided into three sections: Growth and later health, Growth and nutrition during critical windows and Growth and immunity. The first section discusses the pattern of growth in the intrauterine and postnatal life, its role in development of heart and relation to bone growth. A separate section discusses the role of genes in growth and later health. The second section emphasizes on preconception diet, diabetic pregnancy, growth restriction and undernutrition in pregnancy and growth in early years of life. The third section narrates the immune responses, with specific reference to host and microbial factors.

Biology of growth chapter at the beginning gives a good insight into the variability of the altered pattern of growth. The emphasis on the fact that the tissues exhibiting the most rapid growth are the most sensitive to insult is a good method to impress on the reader. This clearly describes that the malnutrition early in development can have a long term effect on neural tissue which is growing most rapidly at that time.

There is a clarity in the description of the intrauterine growth problems connected to cardiovascular problems, diabetes mellitus and bone development in later part of life.

The chapter on genes focuses on the role of genetic factors in determining the foetal growth, birth weight and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The major evidence cited is the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study that addressed metabolic and genetic aspects and their association with growth and adult health outcomes.

Micronutrients before and after pregnancy have been shown to decrease the risk of congenital defects, preterm delivery, low birth weight infant and pre-eclampsia.

It is well known that early nutrition and immunity have an important role in disease susceptibility and health of human beings. Being authored by several researchers, led by Dr David Barker, the proponent of developmental origins of adult diseases is a real treat to read for those interested in the field. What adds further weight is the discussion that is included at the end of each chapter stressing the current status.

The book has referenced recent articles on the subject, the contributors of many of the articles being participants in the Nestle Nutrition Workshop, held in Bali, Indonesia, in April 2007. Overall, the book has been written well and is very informative.