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Obesity in pregnancy 'could increase risk for children'

National Obesity Forum member Tam Fry, who chairs the Child Growth Foundation charity, has warned about the "tragic" dangers of obesity in teenagers during pregnancy.

He said: "Girls are not only getting fat, but getting pregnant.

"The result is not only distressing for the girls but threatening for their children."

Young obese mothers could be threatening their children. Credit: PA

Talking about the increase of child admissions related to pregnancy, Mr Tam added: "I'm not surprised by this leap.

"A lot of these young people are completely unaware that piling on the pounds will not only make them fat but give rise to these other conditions."

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Medics 'more aware' about dangers of child obesity

The number of children being admitted to hospital for obesity related problems has quadrupled in less than a decade, a study has found.

Researchers from Imperial College London say the rise reflects increasing awareness among clinicians, who have become better at recognising obesity:

The burden of obesity is usually thought to have its serious consequences in adulthood, but we now see it manifesting earlier, in childhood.

It's clear that rising obesity levels are causing more medical problems in children, but the rise we observed probably also reflects increasing awareness among clinicians, who have become better at recognising obesity.

– Study leader Dr Sonia Saxena

Findings of study into young people obesity admissions

A study of the number of children and teenagers admitted to hospital for conditions linked to obesity between 2000 and 2009 found:

  • A total of 20,885 young people were treated in hospital for obesity-related conditions.
  • Teenage girls accounted for the biggest rise of admissions.
  • In 2009, obesity is believed to have contributed to complications in 198 pregnant girls. Pregnancy complications included gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, the dangerous condition pre-eclampsia, and neural tube defects.
  • The number of bariatric surgery procedures conducted to help children and young people lose weight also saw a sharp rise, from one per year in 2000 to 31 in 2009. Three-quarters of the patients were teenage girls.

More bananas and less salt 'will reduce stroke risk'

Millions of lives could be saved every year if people ate more potassium-rich foods such as bananas and cut down on their salt intake, health experts have said.

People who have a high potassium intake have a 24% reduced risk of stroke, according to a new study.

Bananas contain high levels of potassium. Credit: PA

And increasing levels of potassium - which can be found in many foods including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, fish, beef, chicken, turkey and bread - can help to reduce high blood pressure, the results indicate.

Researchers also said that increased levels of the chemical do not have an adverse effect on kidney function in adults.

Previous studies have suggested that older people are at an increased risk of harm from potassium because as people get older, their kidneys may become less able to remove potassium from their blood.

The Department of Health advises that older people should not have potassium supplements unless advised to take them by a doctor.

It says that adults need 3,500mg of potassium a day - which people should be able to get from eating a balanced diet.

The research, published on bmj.com, analysed data on potassium intake and health concerning 128,000 participants, who took part in 33 trials.

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Every child should get support, says health minister

Every child should have the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

Family nurse partnerships play a major role in supporting children in some of the most disadvantaged circumstances to have the very best start in life.

Around 11,000 families are already benefiting from personalised support from family nurses, but I am determined that we should go further, and that is why we will expand the programme to support 16,000 families by 2015

– Health minister Dan Poulter
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