Preconception health in women of childbearing age and lifestyles
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Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Italy
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Albania
Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS Italy
ASL Roma 2 Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1203
Daily lifestyles, including diet, BMI control, physical activity, smoking, alcohol and drugs play an important role in preconception health of women of childbearing age. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to describe, in the Italian context, the lifestyles of young women of childbearing age that may have an impact on preconception health.

From July 2020 until April 2021 an anonymous validated online questionnaire was administered to a sample of 340 women aged 18-25 years who were attending secondary grade schools and universities in Italy.

In the previous 3 days, the wide majority of participants had at least one portion of pasta or rice (93.82%), bread (80.59%), meat (90.29%), fruit (81.76%), while less than half had fish (45.59%) or legumes (42.65%). 28.24% of the women was a smoker, in average 5.35 cigarettes/day (SD 3.33), and in average started smoking when aged 16.79 years (SD 2.25). 38.82% of women drank alcohol, more frequently wines and beer (71.88% and 69.53%, respectively), and mainly started drinking, particularly for cocktails, when aged 14-17 (63.57%). 18.53% of women used drugs, mostly marijuana (79.37%). Only 53.53% of women did physical activity, however 94.27% of the remaining had done it in the past. 69.03% of participants stopped doing physical activity due to a lack of time. A higher prevalence of alcohol drinkers was found among stressed women, compared to not stressed ones (41.79% vs 25%, p=0.015). Among most socially fulfilled women, compared to least ones, were found higher prevalences of underweight (18.75% vs 7.69%, p=0.016) and smoking (39.58% vs 21.43%, p=0.045).

To improve lifestyles of young women, it is crucial promoting policies to encourage healthy diets for improving fish and legumes intake, physical activity, mental health and personal fulfilment, as well as to raise awareness and discourage adolescents from unhealthy behaviours.

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