Tobacco-related Foetal Origin of Adult Diseases Hypothesis - population studies in Poland
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Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Laboratory of Functional Diagnostics, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Department of Computer Science and Health Statistics, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Warsaw, Poland; Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(1):117–128
Epidemiological studies in Poland show that tobacco smoking by adolescents at reproductive age is still frequently observed. This concerns both boys and girls. The study was based on all-Polish population studies of health behaviours of adolescents aged 14-24 (Youth Behavioural Polish Survey - YBPS) conducted in 2011, and the Pregnancy-related Assessment Monitoring Survey (PrAMS). More than 12% of pregnant women do not discontinue smoking in association with becoming pregnant and expose the foetus to tobacco smoke, despite being aware of the hazardous effect of smoking on the health of the mother and child. Smoking in pregnancy is mainly observed among mothers with a low education level and those aged under 23. According to the Baker's Foetal Origins of Adult Health and Diseases Hypothesis, exposure of the foetus to the components of tobacco smoke results in many perturbations in the form of a lower birth weight, prematurity, worse state of neonates after birth, and higher susceptibility to contacting civilization diseases at the age of adulthood. The results of studies confirm some observations. Polish studies clearly confirmed a lower birth weight of babies delivered by mothers who smoke; however, earlier termination of pregnancy and worse status of neonates after birth were not observed. According to the Baker's hypothesis, a lower birth weight of babies delivered by smoking mothers during the further life cycle exposes the offspring to the risk of contracting civilization diseases. The efforts undertaken by public health authorities should be biased towards education of the population at reproductive age about the hazardous effect of smoking on the health of the foetus and the offspring born. Women at reproductive age should be encouraged to discontinue smoking in association with the planning of pregnancy and in pregnancy.
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