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March of Dimes honors researcher who linked maternal obesity to a baby's long-term health
Date:10/30/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. OCT. 31, 2011 A highly renowned obstetrician, professor and researcher who showed that babies born to obese and diabetic women have a higher risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes or other metabolic health problems later in life, received the March of Dimes 2011 Agnes Higgins award for outstanding achievement in the field of maternal-fetal nutrition.

Patrick M. Catalano, MD, FACOG, former chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MetroHealth Medical Center and professor at Case Western Reserve University, received the award from Janis Biermann, MS, senior vice president for Education and Health Promotion at the March of Dimes, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association at the Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C. today.

"Obesity is a leading health problem in America today and the health consequences are critical for pregnant women and their children," said Ms. Biermann. "The March of Dimes is honored to recognize Dr. Catalano's work, which shows that when a mother starts pregnancy at healthy weight and maintains it throughout pregnancy, her baby has a better chance at a healthy start in life."

Dr. Catalano's work continues to build on the legacy of Agnes Higgins, the longtime director of Canada's Montreal Diet Dispensary, a precursor of government nutrition programs for pregnant women in the United States, according to the March of Dimes. A pioneer in devising methods of nutritional assessment and counseling, Ms. Higgins greatly advanced the understanding of diet as a crucial factor in healthy pregnancy and prevention of low birth weight. The award was created by the March of Dimes in her honor in 1980.

"Weight control is very important early in pregnancy," said Dr. Catalano. It may have potential long-term benefits for the baby, such as protecting the child from chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and other metabolic di
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Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
elynch@marchofdimes.com
914-997-4286
March of Dimes Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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