We are constantly being bombarded by messages to change over to a healthier lifestyle by exercising and eating a healthy diet with little effect however. We seem to be concentrating more on cure than on prevention, which can be facilitated by placing greater importance on maternal health of a woman during her pregnancy.
It is becoming more and clearer to us that the seeds of what we are today were sown during the time that we were in our mothers’ wombs – our well being, appetite, temperament, intelligence and susceptibility to diseases are all influenced by this very early stage of life.
Research has shown that if a woman is significantly overweight when she conceives, she can impact the developing fetus in a way that makes it more likely for the child to be overweight after being born.
It is thought that brain circuits that regulate appetite and metabolism are impacted when in the womb.
For this reason it becomes really imperative that we invest in maternal health since this is an investment that is likely to reap rich dividends for public health.
There is the view that even directives aimed at preschoolers may be too late, since children at this age are sometimes already obese or overweight.