Maternal Diet and Obesity

This week, Melissa Hemsley, food writer, chef and sustainability champion, joins the Food Foundation podcast to look at the factors that can stop women getting healthy food when they're pregnant and when they're planning to be.

The Food Foundation's latest report Preconception, Pregnancy and Healthy Weight in Childhood shows how much a child’s health is influenced before conception, in the womb, and how a child is predisposed to obesity if their parents, especially their mother is living with obesity. We meet mums and food workers from around the country who describe what it's like to try to feed your unborn and newborn child when transport and the cost of living crisis makes access and affordability just two of the biggest deterrents to a healthy diet.

Nutritionist and one of the authors of the report, Jenny Rosborough outlines its main findings, while Jeni Meadows of the Food Justice Partnership at Lancaster City Council, Lucy Jackman of Feeding Bristol and Natasha Ricketts from the Evelyn Community Centre in Lewisham introduce us to some of the mums who need the most help.

Check out the report here which urges Government to do more to address health inequalities and improve the food environment, particularly for families and parents on a low income. Rates of overweight and obesity in pregnant women increase as the level of deprivation increases. Women living in the most deprived areas are more likely to be underweight or are living with obesity.

The report draws attention to the fact that, while Government has acknowledged the need to reduce levels of childhood obesity, more than 1 fifth of children aged four and five start school in England with overweight or obesity (22.2%). These rates are more than twice as high in children living in the most deprived areas compared to the least.


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