Our Children our legacy
As people age, many develop illnesses which reduce the quality of life during their last two decades. Obesity and all its consequences, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other ailments, are due to suboptimal metabolic health.
Unfortunately, it is forecast that an average baby born in 2020, will spend the final 18-20 years of its life increasingly unwell, medicated, somewhat disabled, and part of the healthcare merry-go-round – just like the present generation! The warning signs are there. Presently in many countries there is concern about the escalating incidence of childhood obesity, an accepted marker of future health problems.
Does it have to be that our children have the same risks for diseases in their middle and older age as it is for our generation?
In this book I bring together information from different developments in science, which together can revolutionise our success in reducing or preventing the chronic diseases of middle and older-age populations throughout the world. The story involves two of the most fundamental functions in human life, reproduction and nutrition.
Humans must reproduce to continue the species.
Humans must eat to survive.
Human reproduction is robust and has been extremely successful given the present population of nearly 8 billion people. However, the processes are also vulnerable and fragile, as shown in the tragedies from the effects on babies during pregnancy from rubella, thalidomide, and alcohol. In addition, research has shown that diseases of later life have their origins during the prenatal time. In particular, the quality of nutrition before and during pregnancy may influence a human’s long-term metabolic health.
And so, nutrition and reproduction, basic needs of human existence, are interdependent. If reproduction is vital for continuation of the human race, nutrition is its greatest ally. But how do we decide what is good nutrition? Can we believe big business, governments, national dietary guidelines, activists, doctors? Should we embrace the dietary advice from those who have challenged the prevailing recommendations?
I believe that better nutrition will improve overall metabolic health thereby reducing the risk for the chronic diseases. But it must be a life-course undertaking, starting now for parent-to-be, and continuing during pregnancy, childhood, adolescence and throughout the reproductive years.
Creating the legacy of good health for our babies starts with awareness. It continues by taking personal responsibility to understand and improve personal metabolic health, before conception.
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