Pregnant women get perks to sign up for nutrition study


By Sue Cody


NCFW cooking class 1How does your baby grow? Can nutritional advice, food choices and cooking classes improve the growth and health of your baby? Researchers hope to answer these questions and more in the Clatsop-Astoria Maternal Partnership Study (CAMPS).

“We are seeking 100 women in the first trimester of pregnancy to participate in the study,” says Wendy D’Agostino, the study coordinator. All participants will receive nutritional information and half will receive a 12-week cooking classes at the North Coast Food Web.


“We want to see if cooking classes improve overall health and wellness.”


In addition to the free cooking classes, an incentive of up to $85 is offered for monitoring, which will be performed by D’Agostino, who is a registered nurse.


Women in the study must also be at least 18 years old, planning to deliver their baby at Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) and speak fluent English. To learn more or to sign up, contact D’Agostino at 607-369-4907. Information is also available at the Women’s Center at CMH.


The study


“We are now in the fourth generation of people not cooking,” says Wendy D’Agostino, the study coordinator. She said this sets the stage for ill health and shorter life.


“The 2016 census predicted longevity for Americans will decrease for the first time in 100 years,” D’Agostino said. “A low-nutrient, high-calorie diet leads to obesity and malnourishment, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. We want to see if cooking classes improve overall health and wellness” of pregnant women and their babies.


Clatsop County is one site in a series of studies by Oregon Health Science University’s (OHSU) Cardiovascular Institute to answer questions about fetal development, disease prevention and nutrition. These studies focus on how certain factors in the prenatal environment can make people more susceptible to heart disease and obesity.


Dr. Jonathan Purnell is conducting CAMPS, working with pregnant women, Columbia Memorial Hospital and the North Coast Food Web. Study Coordinator D’Agostino, who also serves as the kitchen manager at the Food Web, will screen applicants and monitor them over the course of their pregnancy and up to six months after they deliver their baby.


D’Agostino is well-suited to coordinate the study, with her nursing background and interests in nutrition home cooking, health and wellness. “I am really enthusiastic about this,” she says.


Why the study is important


Cell development in a fetus is influenced by previous generations. Research shows the health of a child’s ovaries is impacted by her maternal grandmother’s diet when she was pregnant.


“In many respects, you are what your grandmother ate,” says Professor Margaret Morris, head of the University of New South Wales.


“The mother’s diet and lifestyle not only impacts the health profile of her unborn child, but if that child is a girl, it can also impact the make-up of the eggs developing in the child’s reproductive system,” she says.


Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide, Dr. Beverly Muhlhausler, says a mother’s unbalanced diet can significantly increase the risk of obesity in both her daughter and grandchild.


“This is absolutely essential for Astoria,” D’Agostino says. “We are in a food desert, with low education and poverty,” which raises the risk of multi-generational effect of poor nutrition. “A study like this in a small community can be used to impact larger communities.”


The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, support healthy nutrition and activities.


These studies show, D’Agostino says, that “Good nutrition can keep disease away and lead to generations of healthier people.”
Recruitment Flyer_CAMPS V2 Revised      5.2.17