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Dads-to-be weigh more than partners about to give birth

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Fathers-to-be are more likely to be overweight than their pregnant partners.

A leading Dublin obstetrician has urged overweight future dads to lose weight as two out of every three expectant fathers are fighting the flab.

Prof Michael Turner said a pioneering public health campaign aimed jointly at both expectant mothers and fathers could help tackle worrying obesity levels in Irish families.

Recent research carried out by the UCD Centre for Human Reproduction in the Coombe uncovered that men were more likely to be overweight than their partners when they were expecting their first child.

"Our research found there was the same level of obesity with mothers-to-be and fathers-to-be but dads were twice as likely to be overweight and therefore at risk of becoming obese," said Prof Turner.

A total of one-in-seven - or 14pc - of new dads are classed as obese.

"People are just beginning to wake up to the problem of obese mothers. Nobody has really focused on the obese dads yet," he said.

While the focus during pregnancy tends to be on the mother, Prof Turner believes a public health approach directed at both parents would be beneficial to their newborn child.

"Men need to lose weight and they need to watch their diet and exercise levels as well. They need to do it not just for themselves, but for their partners and their kids.

"I would argue that it is a bit irresponsible in some ways to be fathering a child and not be alive later in life to look after that child and to look after the mother of your child.

"If you want to be a good provider for your children you need to look after your own health. It is a family issue not just an issue for the dads.

"Men should strive not only to be alive but also to be healthy for their children."

Last year, one-in-six expectant mothers in the Coombe hospital were obese while just under 2pc - or 150 pregnant women at the Dublin hospital - were morbidly obese which means they had a body mass index of over 40.

Prof said more health-conscious parents would also have a huge impact on their children.

hnews@herald.ie


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