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We are often reminded about how our diets will affect our bodies. The numerous articles, the trailblazer-paths of adverts with smug, size-6-or-lower models with perfect skin or just simply the continuous reminder from friends and family that there’s a fat-free something-or-another in the shop again. Whichever it is, we are told how being overweight is not the greatest thing. For teenage mothers, there is just one more thing on the dish of dietary problems.
Obesity is a growing problem in the UK – whilst it shouldn’t be a matter of looks and appearance, being overweight carries with it several issues, such as heart and diabetes risks. Overall, for many GPs, maintaining a healthy body is far more important.
In the case of teenage mothers, the problems are a little more substantial. Around 15 percent of British women are said to be obese when expecting a baby. Of that number, research found that those aged 19 or younger were more likely to be overweight. Those that had children later were less likely to suffer from noticeable weight-gain.
Dr Tammy Chang, lead author of the research said that, ‘For the first time, we’ve identified our youngest mums as a high risk group for obesity, one of the most debilitating long-term health issues we face.
‘When taking care of teen mums, we often have so many immediate concerns – childcare, housing, school, social and financial support – that we don’t often think of long-term health effects.’
So is being a young mother one of the big factors of female obesity?
It cannot be ruled out that diet is the other slice of the overweight pie. By consuming a calorie-controlled diet, young mothers were able to avoid life-threatening pre-eclampsia and other complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a premature birth.
With a healthy diet, young mothers were able to actually reduce their weight by nearly half a stone, whilst a bad diet during pregnancy could mean being stuck with extra pounds in your body for life.
You may still get the jelly-belly, but you will also be able to enjoy the knowledge that you – and your baby – will have had a healthy pregnancy with a healthy diet to boot. Dealing with weight always has to start with the little things.
Why wait until afterwards?