Obesity strategies ‘failing’ because they don’t focus on babies and mothers

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Obesity strategies ‘failing’ because they don’t focus on babies and mothers

Related tags: Pregnancy, Nutrition, Infant

Anti-obesity strategies from public health experts and governments are failing because they do not take in to account pregnant women and babies, and focus too much attention on children and adults, says a top UK doctor.

The UK National Health Service (NHS) and many other countries are wasting millions on doomed anti-obesity strategies - because they do not realise that babies start to become fat even before they are born, the UK’s most senior children’s doctor has warned.

Professor Neena Modi, the new president of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, warned that government anti-obesity campaigns directed at adults and young people “have all been failures”​, and suggested that much more effort should be devoted to pregnant women and babies instead.

“There have been millions directed to trying to intervene once obesity is established, and yet they’ve all been failures, so we need to tackle the causes,”​ said Modi – who warned that babies 'are getting fat in their mothers' wombs'.

“An obese child is going to be an obese adult and an obese adult is going to have obese children, so we’ve got a very, very vicious downward generational spiral that we need to nip in the bud,”​ Modi told UK newspaper The Times​.

According to the expert, early intervention programmes including breastfeeding and promoting healthy eating to infants are crucial to stop people becoming fat at the beginning of life.

Childhood obesity

According to Modi, one in five 11-year-olds are obese and the proportion of obese children has doubled in primary school.

Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England said that the health service would need billions of pounds more in funding to tackle the problem of ballooning obesity in children.

But Modi criticised Stevens for having “fallen into the pitfall of mistaking association with causation.”

“He’s starting off with a very useful observation: children become obese in these critical early years,”​ she said. "But I would say where did the trajectory actually start?”

“I know from my own research that it actually starts in utero and in infancy.”

obese baby

For example, Modi warned that  an obese mother with gestational diabetes is much more likely to have a baby which has more fatty tissue.

“That baby has been set on a trajectory which is leading towards obesity in childhood and adulthood,”​ she warned.

“What we don’t know yet is how we can intervene.”

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2 comments

Maybe they have failed ...

Posted by Charlie,

Because they are all a load of nonsense based on junk science peddled by a bunch of charlatans?

More complete lack of awareness from all those neck deep in the public health scam. Got to keep those nice salaries, got to keep those nice pensions. Beats doing something productive for a living.

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Where have the millions gone?

Posted by Simon,

There is no "anti-obesity" stategy that actually helps anyone. I have been obese for years following an accident that left me disabled. Before my accident I was an athelete consuming around 5,000 calories per day to maintain a skinny fit frame, and so inevitably it took a while for my body to re-adjust my appetite to my massively reduced activity level, and I became obese. Now, despite my daily calorie intake being below 1800 per day, I am unable to lose any of the fat I have built up. I have repeatedly requested help from the NHS, only to be told there is none available, as they spend all their budget on UNDERWEIGHT patients, and have NO MONEY to spend on obese patients.

Apart from ineffective poster campaigns, and pointless self-congratulatory tea and biscuit talking shops, THERE IS NO ANTI-OBESITY CAMPAIGN.

There is no need to concentrate on pregnant women, there is no need for further funding. There is a need to sack every single one of the public health parasites like Prof. Modi, and employ just one strategist with something more than a room temperature IQ.

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