Conference Coverage

Replacement meals boost nutrient intake by pregnant women with obesity


 

REPORTING FROM OBESITY WEEK 2019

– Pregnant women with overweight or obesity who replaced two meals a day with bars or shakes starting at their second trimester not only had a significantly reduced rate of gestational weight gain but also benefited from significant improvements in their intake of several micronutrients, in a randomized study of 211 women who completed the regimen.

Dr. Suzanne Phelan, professor of kinesiology and public health at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Mitchel L. Zoler/MDedge News

Dr. Suzanne Phelan

Further research needs “to examine the generalizability and effectiveness of this prenatal lifestyle modification program in improving micronutrient sufficiency in other populations and settings,” Suzanne Phelan, PhD, said at a meeting presented by The Obesity Society and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The study she presented ran at two U.S. sites, in California and Rhode Island, and enrolled a population that was 42% Hispanic/Latina. Despite uncertainty about the applicability of the findings to other populations, the results suggested that partial meal replacement is a way to better control gestational weight gain in women with overweight or obesity while simultaneously increasing micronutrient intake, said Dr. Phelan, a clinical psychologist and professor of kinesiology and public health at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

She reported data from the Healthy Beginnings/Comienzos Saludables (Preventing Excessive Gestational Weight Gain in Obese Women) study, which enrolled 257 women with overweight or obesity (body mass index of at least 25 kg/m2) at week 9-16 of pregnancy and randomized them to either a multifactorial behavioral lifestyle intervention that included two daily meal replacements, or to “enhanced” usual care. About 80% of participants in both arms, a total of 211 women, completed the study with final follow-up at 35-36 weeks’ gestational age, after enrolling at an average gestational age of just under 14 weeks. In addition to eating nutrition bars or drinking nutrition shakes as the replacement meal options, participants also ate one conventional meal daily as well as 2-4 healthy snacks. The enrolled women included 41% with overweight and 59% with obesity.

The study’s primary endpoint was the rate of gestational weight gain per week, which was 0.33 kg in the intervention group and 0.39 kg in the controls, a statistically significant difference. The proportion of women who exceeded the Institute of Medicine’s recommended maximum gestational weight gain maximum was 41% among those in the intervention group and 54% among the controls, also a statistically significant difference (Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Feb;107[2]:183-94).

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