Coexistence of overweight and anaemia during pregnancy


Start date: 1 August, 2020 End date: 31 March, 2024 Project type: Research projects in countries with targeted development cooperation (earlier Window 2) Project code: 19-M06-KU Countries: Mexico Thematic areas: Health, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), Mexico National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP), Mexico Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC), Denmark Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Dirk Lund Christensen Total grant: 4,929,044 DKK

Project summary

Mexico is experiencing an increasing burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases. This is also the case for pregnant women, who face both obesity problems and anaemia; some have a combination of the two challenges, i.e. a double burden of disease. The combination of obesity and anaemia in pregnancy is a health problem for the pregnant women, and may also affect the off-spring negatively. Long-term consequences could result in cognitive challenges in early childhood. Combating both health challenges during pregnancy is likely to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality. As the vast majority of pregnant women in Mexico attend antenatal care, there is potential to prevent obesity and anaemia during pregnancy through lifestyle advice (diet and physical activity) and administration of iron tablets. This study therefore aims to develop and pilot a hospital-based intervention and to ensure the optimal study design and methods for subsequent evaluation in a randomized control trial. Both pregnant women and health staff in Mexico will be part of the study. More specifically, the aim of the study is to analyse and describe pregnant women with co-existing obesity and anaemia with focus on 1) demographic, socio-economic, and clinical characteristics 2) lifestyle behaviours and iron supplementation 3) birth complications and general health of newborn babies. Moreover, in a social-cultural context, the study aims to analyse and describe pregnant women’s decision about pregnancy, lifestyle factors, treatment and care access, and health beliefs. The ambition is to increase focus on nutrition, physical activity, behaviours, barries in pregnant women, among health staff and in the public. Furthermore, a long-term ambition is to develop new guidelines for pregnant women with combined obesity and anaemia.


Midterm report:
A team of Danish researchers from the Danida study - including University of Copenhagen and Stemo Diabetes Center Copenhagen - visited Cuernavaca, Morelos, and Mexico City, Mexico in March 2022. Meetings with key collaboration partners were held at INSP and IMSS in Cuernavaca, as well as IBERO - a new partner institution - in Mexico City. Furthermore, succesful pilot interviews for Phase I have been conducted, and 3 scientific papers have been published/accepted for publication in international, peer-reviewed journals.

Go back to all projects