Stopping The Epidemic
The Childhood Obesity Epidemic may best be stopped by creating a healthy environment in utero. Public discussion on the topic of childhood obesity is turning from children to infants. The image of the rolly polly baby as a healthy infant is fading. Evidence is mounting that babies born to overweight mothers and those with insulin resistance or glucose intolerance are already at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We have to ask the question: How do we prevent childhood obesity at its root?
DTP® suggests that pregnancy fitness – especially aerobics or cardiovascular conditioning – can play a critical role in the effort to prevent childhood obesity. While scientists have yet to do direct studies on this theory, there is enough information available to indicate that moms who exercise vigorously prior to and during pregnancy are at reduced risk for disorders of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia that lead to later metabolic and cardiovascular disease for themselves and their offspring. There is also some evidence that babies of exercising mothers see health benefits during their childhood.
Why Is Pregnancy Fitness Important?
The first and most obvious answer is that if a pregnant woman exercises vigorously enough, she is burning sugar, thus reducing the type of metabolic stress that can result in gestational diabetes. We know that overweight women who require insulin reduce the amount of insulin needed if they exercise. At the same time, they are reducing the impact of the disorder on their offspring. Recently, we have begun seeing reports of children as young as three years old having coronary artery disease, in part due to the conditions of their gestation.
Second, and the more intricate possibility, is that the whole biochemical milieu in which the exercising mother’s fetus develops is teaching it to survive in a fit environment. Think: The cells drive the behavior of the organism. If the cells are used to a bath of healthy chemicals, the bottom up drive to provide that environment will help produce behavior achieving the desired result. In a manner of speaking, an exercising mom-to-be helps provide her offspring with an appetite for motion.
How Do We Get There From Here?
There are two major steps that need to be taken to help bring at-risk moms/babies into the realm of the active.
1. Care providers – midwives and obstetricians – need to support their patients in finding appropriate cardiovascular conditioning activities or programs.
2. Pre/postnatal fitness professionals need to insure that appropriate and enjoyable activities are available not only to those likely to exercise in any case, but also to those who would like to be active, but for whom social support and a safe psychological environment are necessary.
For more information, visit our website: www.dancingthrupregnancy.com.
Filed under: 1, baby, exercise, health care, movement, pregnancy | Tagged: baby, childhood obesity, exercise, gestational diabetes, health, healthy behavior, metabolic syndromes, moms-to-be, offspring, preeclampsia, pregnancy | 1 Comment »