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The importance of nutrition and lifestyle to healthy development 

The importance of nutrition and lifestyle to healthy development
The importance of nutrition and lifestyle to healthy development

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

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date: 08 March 2021

Good fetal and infant nutrition, whether derived from the mother via the placenta during gestation or via breast milk after birth, consists of the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all of which are needed for building the fundamental components of the body, and micronutrients such as vitamins and trace elements, which are essential structural components and cofactors in metabolic processes. Understanding the concept of a ‘balanced diet’ and the implications of maternal body composition is critical for pregnant and breastfeeding women to ensure that their metabolic adaptation to pregnancy and lactation is appropriate and that their offspring gets the required nutrients in the appropriate amount and proportion to ensure optimal development. An unbalanced diet, or over- or under-nutrition, can increase the risks of low birthweight and gestational diabetes and result in unfavourable metabolic adjustments by the fetus.

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