Prevent maternal obesity preconception

Research has shown that obesity among women before conception increases the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), affects their health during pregnancy, their birth outcome, and the transmission of obesity and related NCDs to their children. Weight management during pregnancy however hasn’t yet been shown to be successful in improving pregnancy outcomes, and the health of the offspring.  Some studies have actually suggested that dietary and lifestyle interventions during pregnancy whether alone or in combination with drugs, is not enough to have meaningful impact on the pregnancy, its outcomes, or to reduce gestational diabetes.

Now women who are overweight or obese during pregnancy have increased insulin resistance which does not quite improve just by dietary and lifestyle interventions during pregnancy, among women who are already obese by the time they become pregnant. What the current studies all show is that to have best gains in mother and child health, its best to prevent obesity before conception and between pregnancies: Basically across the entire women’s reproductive period.

This essentially means every woman from the age of 15 upto 49 (reproductive age) needs to be deliberate on adopting and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and those around them need to facilitate it.  Family members including children play a big role on the diet and lifestyle of the women in the households. Women have reported cooking only that which is ‘eaten’ in their household. “No one eats sweet potatoes in my house so I don’t buy them”, and this is true for many other foods.

It is common for women to workout before their big day just so they can fit in their dress, and feel great. But rarely do they intentionally ask for weight loss advise because they are thinking about having a baby.

So ladies, before you start worrying about losing the baby weight, how about you first get the weight right before the baby.

Happy New Year!

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Car ban in Nairobi

Commuters walking to town. (Photo: courtesy)

I watched the craziness that became of the roads last week when matatus were banned from the city. Wah!! Then the governor drops the line “we want to keep our citizens fit” and I thought are these guys making fun of real problems that actually need to be addressed? But let’s agree that it was indeed a pilot. What do we learn? (more…)

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Retirement need not be the end of usefulness

Sometime this year I visited Singapore. I took taxi twice and both times, the drivers were men of advanced aged- already retired from their usual jobs. Let me add that they were driving some really nice cars. In Malaysia as a younger cab driver would tell me, he had his friend’s dad who had also retired and was also doing the taxi business with his luxury car. These are senior citizens who have found an opportunity to continue having an income, while enjoying their independence. But these are among the lucky ones who have had pensionable jobs or businesses that they can continue to be part of. (more…)

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Wait. Did you read the health warning on the cigarette pack?


Globally, 7.1 Million death per year; 5.1 men and 2.0 women, die from tobacco use, 6.3 million of which are attributed to cigarette smoking and 884,000 from second hand smoke (The Atlas Tobacco, 2018). In Kenya, 69 per 100,000 deaths of individuals aged 30 and above result from tobacco use. Further, 5% of all non-communicable deaths in Kenya result from tobacco use while 55% of all deaths from cancer of the trachea, bronchitis, and lung are attributed to tobacco. (more…)

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The supermarket could be the reason you can’t keep your weight down


When I was young, my parents shopped for food stuff and other household consumables at Mama Peter’s wholesale and retail shop. My siblings and I went to the same shop even when we were not accompanied by our parents. It was where we waited for my mum when she went to the market, and when we went to town, we passed by just to say hello. Then supermarkets came to our town. (more…)

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Could soft drinks increase the risk of cancer no matter your weight?



Seems so. A study that was recently published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal has given some new evidence that sugary soft drinks could increase the risk of cancer, no matter the weight. This adds to the existing knowledge on the effect of soft drinks on our health, most of which has been linked to weight, and consequently weight related problems, including cancer and other non-communicable diseases. (more…)

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Are you fit to carry a pregnancy?

Obesity in pregnancy

Pregnancy is beautiful.

But While a good number in this era ‘plan’ for pregnancies, the planning mostly involves getting off birth control. Rarely do we think about whether our weight is good for the pregnancy. According to World Health Organization, obesity has more than doubled among adults above 18 since 1980. This has resulted in the increase in the number of obese women of reproductive age, and the rise of a relatively new high-risk population; obese pregnant women. (more…)

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Image result for gluten
Gluten products

You are probably on, or have tried the gluten free diet. Well, a study recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Session, suggests that low gluten diets may be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes. A possible explanation is that participants in the long-observational study who ate less gluten, tended to eat less cereal fiber which is known to protect against developing Type 2 diabetes. (more…)

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Baby suckling on a pacifier
Baby suckling on a pacifier

Among most current mums, pacifiers are some of the key baby purchases. World Health Organization however discourages use of pacifiers and teats among infants, in efforts to support breastfeeding. It is feared that use of pacifiers especially at a younger age can cause nipple confusion and therefore affect breastfeeding. Hence, health care providers discourage use of pacifiers. (more…)

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ADHD written on chalk board

A healthy diet is important for management of all children including those with ADHD and autism. Among other factors, adverse food reactions- food allergy, non-immunologic food effects (intolerances and toxicities) – and nutrition deficiencies have been proposed as triggers of ADHD [Sylvia Cruchet et al.]. Pharmacological therapy has proven to be efficacious in controlling disruptive behavior and inattention in patients with ADHD, with a response of over 70% [Lancet 2016]. However, these medications have frequent adverse reactions, and some parents are also concerned about long-term side effects, preferring non-pharmacological approaches, including nutritional interventions (more…)

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Sustainable development in the words of one Dr Omar-Salim means, development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Now as far as sustainable development is concerned, in our own little ways, we play a role. One such role is to breastfeed. Yep! Men and women alike should protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Here is why. Breastfeeding influences nutrition and food security; health, development and survival; ability to achieve full educational potential and economic productivity. It is also a fact that that breastfeeding is an environmentally sustainable method of feeding compared to the alternatives. As was reported in The Lancet in January only 1 in 3 children in low and middle income countries are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. Consequently, millions of children are failing to receive the full benefits provided by breastfeeding. 

My cousin just had a baby and is going to be home until January on a paid maternity leave. She is lucky. But should breastfeeding be at the mercy of luck? So your organization cannot give maternity leaves that long, but can they provide a nursing room; a clean space where mum’s can express, a fridge for them to store their milk, flextime? Those staying with women who are breastfeeding, do you understand that it is important they breastfeed exclusively for the first six months? Are you supporting them?

The bottom line is, a mum who is less worried about her child is more focused on whatever she engages in, and therefore more productive. Ultimately, we will spend less on treatment and save lives, have more to spend on nutritious food, prevent obesity and diabetes later in life, increase intelligence in our children, as well as reduce the risk for breast and cervical cancer.

Happy breastfeeding week!!  

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Woman on a scale checking weight

Adolescence is the stage of gender- specific biological changes, self-awareness; a stage of establishing a sense of independence, a transition into adulthood. It is during this time that eating habits are developed. The trend has however been such that more adolescents are consuming less vegetables and fruits, consuming more sweets and soft drinks, and skipping meals. This is a concern since behaviors picked then are likely to persist in adulthood. Moreover, overweight and obesity in children is more likely to persist in adulthood, with an increased risk of weight related non-communicable diseases. (more…)

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