Immigrant women at higher risk of developing obesity during pregnancy, study finds

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A new study report published in the Journal of Public Health has found that immigrant women are more likely to develop obesity during pregnancy time.

Researchers made this conclusion after analyzing women in Norway who have immigrant backgrounds. It should be noted that several previous studies have shown a higher prevalence of obesity among pregnant immigrant women in Sweden, Germany, and the United States when compared to their non-immigrant counterparts.

The research team involved in this new study conducted analyzed the Medical Birth Registry Norway and Statistics Norway, that comprised of 219,555 deliveries between 2006 and 2014.

Researchers found that 22.3 percent of the immigrant women who took part in the study were overweight, while 12.2 percent were obese. Interestingly, the highest rate of obesity and overweight were recorded among women who migrated from the Middle East and North Africa. Researchers also noted that immigrant women with no education are at high risk of developing obesity when compared to educated women.

As per researchers who took part in the study, 47.9 percent of women with no education developed overweight, while women with the highest education were least likely to become obese.

"This study reveals that immigrant women from the Middle East or Africa have a notably higher prevalence of obesity than women from other parts of the world, or women born in the recipient country. Additionally, women with lower education had a higher prevalence of obesity. Health care providers should take these factors into consideration in the planning of prenatal care. Some groups of women may need more follow-up than the healthiest women," said Katariina Laine, head of the department of obstetrics at Oslo University Hospital, and the lead author of the study, reports.

Obesity is one of the most serious health issues faced by people all over the world, and among pregnant women, overweight could lead to various problems like gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. Experts also believe that pregnant women are more likely to face various other problems like congenital anomalies, miscarriages, stillbirths, and preterm births.