In her latest report, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies warns that obesity is the leading health risk for women and their families. While other problems such as cancer, Alzheimer's, menopause and the effects of violence may also impact a woman's health, Davies posted a report that suggests obesity is the one issue that can be found across the age range. In particular, she also warns of the potential health risks that can occur with women who are obese while pregnant, and the dangers it may pose to their unborn children.
One thing in particular that she wants to set out to do is busting an old truism that follows pregnant women when it comes to eating healthily, that while pregnant they should begin to "eat for two". Instead, she wants to promote a healthier diet consisting of fruit and vegetable, while avoiding alcohol and smoking.
While pregnant, a woman's health can have numerous consequences for the pre-natal development of the child, especially in such cases where the mother is prone to drinking heavily. In cases of obesity, the health risks can include the child themselves becoming obese or developing type two diabetes.
"In women obesity can affect the outcomes of any pregnancies they have and the health of any future children they may have," Davies reports. "This is a difficult message to convey, as it risks burdening women with guilt and responsibility, but I believe that it can also empower women to take positive steps like eating more healthily and taking more exercise. It is never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle – for you and your family."
Rather than eating for two, which contrary to popular belief doesn't provide any additional benefit for either the mother or child, she recommends that pregnant mothers instead eat balanced, healthy diets and acquire plenty of exercise during the course of their pregnancy. Or as much exercise as their condition allows, at least.
Around half of all women aged 25-34 and 36% of 16-24 suffer from obesity, it has been found. Further, when women in the latter age group try to get pregnant, they frequently approach their GPs about this issue.
Davies states that this is the perfect time for dialogue about the subject's obesity, however this is all too often missed.
To assist pregnant mothers with obesity, as well as British women in general, decisive action needs to be taken, including therapy given to those who suffer from eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia), and their early diagnosis by trained therapists. This includes giving everyone diagnosed access to a new emerging form of psychological therapy called CB-T, which is designed to help people with eating disorders. It should be available to every age group.
Davies also recommends that the government take direct action to see obesity tackled. "Obesity has to be a national priority," she says.
While not expressly stated, her report does hint at measures similar to a Sugar Tax proposed by Jamie Oliver and numerous other health and medical organisations. In other areas of her findings, she expressly states the importance of including obesity in national education programmes, to better inform people about their dietary habits and their impact on people's health.
Davies's proposals have also won the backing of Beat, a charity that supports treating people with eating disorders.
While it's tempting to view Dame Davies findings as an incentive to lose weight, it is important not to be too hasty about the matter. While seeking a healthier lifestyle and bodyweight is a worthy cause to pursue, losing weight incorrectly is equally as dangerous as being obese in the first place.
Using supplements to enhance weight loss is also risky, and could cause additional damage if pregnant. 121doc has a wide variety of weight loss-relevant pharmaceuticals, and can be happy to recommend a product to help you achieve a healthier build that fits in with your physiological conditions. However, never forget the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and a healthy self-image!