Obese Britain Summer 2015.pdf

A magazine about Healthy Living, Weight Loss, Exercise and Dieting. Distributed with the Guardian on the 27th June 2015 www.obesebritain.com

A magazine about Healthy Living, Weight Loss, Exercise and Dieting. Distributed with the Guardian on the 27th June 2015 www.obesebritain.com


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observed to detrimentally effect endometrial development<br />

– the development of the womb lining - and implantation<br />

of the embryo, thereby also leading to an increased risk<br />

of miscarriage.<br />

The commonest hormonal problem experienced by<br />

women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an area<br />

that has been the main focus of my research over<br />

the years. The expression of PCOS is regulated, in<br />

part, by weight and so obese women with PCOS<br />

often have more severe symptoms and experience<br />

more sub-fertility.<br />

Obesity also impairs the response of women to<br />

all fertility treatments, which is why the National<br />

Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) advises<br />

that NHS funding for fertility treatment<br />

should not be offered to women with<br />

a BMI of more than 30. Weight<br />

loss through lifestyle modification<br />

or bariatric surgery has been<br />

demonstrated to restore menstrual<br />

regularity, ovulation and improve<br />

the likelihood of conception and a<br />

healthy pregnancy, both naturally and<br />

with treatment.<br />


Lucy (not her real name) attended our<br />

clinic eighteen months ago at the age<br />

of 29 and with a BMI of 36, she had<br />

irregular periods but otherwise she and her<br />

husband were healthy. Since puberty she<br />

had struggled with her weight and found<br />

it difficult to exercise. When we explained<br />

the impact this was having on her fertility<br />

she enrolled in a weight management<br />

programme, was careful with her diet<br />

and started to swim and then started<br />

running once her weight started to fall.<br />

She came back to clinic after 6 months<br />

with a BMI of 32, by which time she<br />

didn’t need further encouragement as she<br />

was enjoying feeling fitter. After a further<br />

three months her periods were regular and<br />

she conceived naturally without the need<br />

for treatment.<br />



• Fertility is most likely in people with a<br />

normal weight<br />

• Women who are underweight stop having periods<br />

• Women who are overweight and obese have a 2-3<br />

fold reduction in their fertility<br />

• Being overweight increases risks during pregnancy and<br />

also may adversely effect the long term health of children<br />

• Fertility treatments are less likely to work in people who<br />

are overweight<br />

• Weight loss is best achieved by a combination of diet<br />

and exercise<br />



Professor Adam Balen MB, BS, MD,<br />

DSc, FRCOG is a full time Consultant in<br />

Reproductive Medicine at Leeds Teaching<br />

Hospitals NHS Trust.<br />


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