Alcohol-related Developmental Origin of Adult Health – population studies in Poland among mothers and newborns (2010-2012)

Adam Fronczak 4,  
Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, PolandandDepartment of Public Health, University of Information Technology and Management, Rzeszow, Poland
Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland; Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland
Department of Biopharmacy, Medical University, Łódź, Poland
Department of Functional Research, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2012;19(3):365–377
Alcohol related harm is a global problem for public health where frequent consumption of large amounts of alcohol constitutes a serious health risk, particularly to vulnerable groups such as adolescents, pregnant women and newborns. The epidemiological study on health-lifestyle behaviour, especially alcohol consumption, was performed on a randomised group of post-partum women’s health behaviour during pregnancy, covering drinking habits, was undertaken in 2010, 2011 and 2012, (n=8,237) according to the PRAMS model including effects on the foetus and newborn; women being selected from obstetric and gynaecological wards. In this Polish study, only 14% of women did not consume alcohol before becoming pregnant while 15% of women drank alcohol throughout the entire period of pregnancy. In addition, awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol consumed, especially of small amounts, before and during pregnancy is low among Polish women. It is also alarming that more than 55% of physicians who provide care for pregnant women do not discuss with them the harmful effect of alcohol on the organism of the mother and foetus, whereas over 2% of doctors even recommend the consumption of alcohol in pregnancy. With reference to the Barker’s Foetal Origin of Diseases Hypothesis, the authors suggest such alcohol drinking behaviour of women during their reproductive ages and while pregnant may exert negative health effects on offspring, mainly in the form of susceptibility to contracting chronic diseases. Such findings pose a risk to future generations in Poland and require remedial/educational action targeted on health care professionals and public like.