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Metabolic Risk Profile among Overweight and Obese Lactating Women in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Anna Winkvist
Fredrik Bertz
Lars Ellegård
Ingvar Bosaeus
Hilde Kristin Brekke
Published in Plos One
Volume 8
Issue 5
Pages e63629
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages e63629
Language en
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Background: Obesity and cardiovascular diseases are increasing globally and any association between reproduction and these conditions is of concern. Unfortunately, little is known about normal levels of metabolic risk factors in women of different body mass index throughout the reproductive cycle. This study is one of the first to describe the metabolic risk profile of lactating overweight or obese women at 8-12 weeks postpartum. Methods: During 2007-2009, 66 overweight or obese Swedish lactating women without known diseases underwent detailed measurements of their metabolic profiles, dietary intake and general health before entering a lifestyle intervention trial. Baseline measurements took place between 8-12 wk postpartum. Almost all women were exclusively breastfeeding their term infants. Results: The women were regarded as healthy, as reflected in the absence of diagnosed diseases, their own perceptions and in normal hemoglobin, albumin and fasting plasma glucose values. Four women were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. In these cases, underlying conditions included large waist circumference, low HDL cholesterol values, high triglyceride values and relatively high blood pressure. The metabolic profile differed between overweight and obese women; obese women had significantly higher levels of fasting insulin (p = 0.017), borderline higher HOMA values (p = 0.057) and significantly higher triglyceride values (p = 0.029), as well as larger waist and hip circumferences (p<0.001 and p<0.001). However, no significant differences between overweight and obese women were detected for LDL or total cholesterol levels. Overweight and obese women reported similar total energy and macronutrient intakes, but obese women tended to be less physically active (p = 0.081). Conclusions: Among generally healthy lactating women, obesity as compared to overweight is associated with increased metabolic risk. This cut-off is thus important also in the early postpartum period, and obesity among these women should warrant proper health investigation. Macronutrient intake did not differ between the groups and, hence, cannot explain these differences.

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