Obesity epidemic endangers women’s health in the UK

By: Yasmeen Fekri

Obesity endangers health of mothers and Children in the UK with health officials recommending ways to tackle the issue.

A report published today by England’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies highlighted how much strain obesity is placing on the NHS and on society, causing harm to the country’s productivity.

In her annual medical report, she focuses on this issue saying ‘women’s obesity should be a national priority to avert a growing health catastrophe’.

Seventeen recommendations to improve women’s health were made in the report. Dame Davies also called for more open discussion on incontinence and better treatment of ovarian cancer.

 

Health experts have welcomed the focus of the report.

Clair Armstrong, 37, retail employee said ‘This is a big problem we are facing now. I know a lot of people going through this and it is insane that people can’t control themselves around food.

‘Exercise is the key, people need to make time for it.’

Studies show women’s obesity problem shortens their lives. Women must also take good care of their physical and mental health  during pregnancy for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

Women that are obese during pregnancy have an increased chance of premature birth and miscarriage which can also have an impact on the child’s health later in life.

Dame Davies said she wanted to bust the myth that women should eat for two when pregnant, adding a healthy diet with fruit and vegetables and avoiding alcohol was important.

Professor Nick Finer, from University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science, said ‘obesity was now the most pressing health issue for the nation.’

‘Estimates of the economic costs of obesity suggest they will bankrupt the NHS.’

England’s chief medical officer recommended that everyone with an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating should have access to a new and enhanced form of psychological therapy, available online, called CBT-E, which is specifically designed to treat any eating disorder.

She added, Bosses need to be sympathetic to women related issues in the workplace.

Debby Mathews, from a charity that supports people with obesity problems said ‘the recommendation could have a positive impact on the population but to follow everything issued in that report would be difficult due to lack of medical experts.’

 

Report showed that there should be more awareness of women’s problems below the waist such as urinary and faecal incontinence and the menopause.

More than five million women suffer from incontinence in the UK, a condition that can seriously affect the quality of their lives.

Bosses should also make it easier for women to discuss their menopausal symptoms without embarrassment, which could help them reduce their sick leave and improve their well-being at work.

The chief medical officer recommended that clinical staff must be better trained to research on screening tests, preeclampsia and foetal growth as well as improve maternal and child mental and physical health.

Dr David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said women should be placed at the centre of their care throughout their lives.

He said issues such as maternal obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity, high levels of alcohol consumption, smoking and poor sexual health ‘must be addressed… to enable all women to make safe and appropriate lifestyle choices’.

The obesity epidemic can be tackled if food portion sizes in supermarkets, restaurants and at home are reduced, according to researchers.

The team of researchers at the University of Cambridge also said smaller plates, glasses and cutlery helps people eat less.

 

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