Biggest threat to health of women is obesity

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has warned that obesity is the biggest threat to the health of women, and the health of later generations.
In her annual report, ‘Health of the 51% Women’, which contains 17 recommendations to improve the health of women, Dame Sally says fighting obesity needs to be a national priority, especially for women, who are the focus of the report.
She highlights the fact that obesity shortens people’s lives too frequently, and says it is imperative for women to look after their mental and physical health during pregnancy, to reduce the risk of their children and grandchildren suffering from health problems.
In 2013, for women aged 34 to 44 years, 64 per cent were classed as overweight or obese in England. For women aged 45 to 54 years, this figure was a staggering 71 per cent.
One of the myths Dame Sally wants to expose is the idea of “eating for two” when pregnant. Research has indicated that being obese during pregnancy can result in a higher risk of suffering a miscarriage or premature birth.
The mother’s general health during pregnancy can also have a significant effect in the future on the health of the child, due to the conditions in her womb. Factors that can be influenced by her health include the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Women should focus on eating a healthy diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, and cut out alcohol, Dame Sally said, to protect themselves and their children.
The report also highlighted the importance of diagnosing eating disorders, such as binge-eating, anorexia and bulimia, as early as possible, and treating them quickly too. These eating disorders are much more common in women than they are in men.

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