Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heart disease, diabetes ... where does it all begin?

Today Paul Zimmet in the Sydney Morning Herald quite rightly asks if we actually have the right strategies to address the obesity epidemic, which is a major driver of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. BUT ‘Preventing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes needs to begin before a baby is even conceived. Research has found low birth-weight babies to be at increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.’ David Barker, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton's Developmental Origins of Health and Disease research centre (DOHaD) and Professor in the Department of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, leaves us in no doubt about the importance of preconception healthcare. Barker was awarded a CBE in the UK 2006 New Year's Honours list in recognition of his pioneering medical research work on the links between low birth weight and the later development of disease. Optimisation of nutritional status and complete avoidance of any potential toxicity by both partners for at least 4 months prior to conception is the only certain way to reduce the toll of epigenetic/trans-generational effects of poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle and toxic environment. There's always much talk and finger-pointing about the lack of responsibility shown by the obese. There's no doubt that responsibility is the name of the game, however the primary responsibility rests with prospective parents.

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