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'I realised if I became fat and unhealthy, my daughter would too'

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Yvonne Hogan

Yvonne Hogan

Yvonne Hogan

My first instinct on reading the UCD/Holles St report on the rising obesity rates in pregnant women was to tell them to back off and leave us alone. Isn't pregnancy the one time when we can engage guiltlessly in a bit of extra comfort eating? Doesn't everyone put on a bit of weight when they are expecting? And what's the harm?

According to the experts, the harm is quite significant. It can lead to lifelong obesity for the child and the myriad of health problems that accompany being fat.

Most parents would sacrifice anything to give their children a good start in life, but according to the report, few of us are willing to sacrifice a few extra calories when we are pregnant. The old wives' tale of eating for two has been shown by cold, hard research to be a damaging myth, yet we continue to indulge ourselves.

I put my hand up as a sinner. I know all about healthy eating and the importance of exercise. In fairness, I did exercise, but I also used my pregnancy as an excuse to add a few extra daily treats into my diet.

I put on about 10kg of fat. I ate a lot of chocolate and processed food at a time when I should have been more concerned about what went into my mouth, not less.

My daughter is 20 months old and I am only now managing to drop the weight. It was only when she started eating what we were eating, that I realised what I was doing to myself was bad for her, and that if I didn't make a change, she too would suffer. If I became fat and unhealthy, so would she.

Of course, this is part of a much wider, national problem. If we continue the way we are, we are going to be the fattest country in Europe by 2030.

I think it's time that the powers that be stopped paying for reports on what we are doing wrong and started to implement measures that will help us lead healthier lives.

Tax sugar and processed foods. Make PE compulsory in schools. Teach proper nutrition to primary school children. And communicate health messages in a more supportive, less judgmental way.

Irish Independent