Thursday, 28 September 2006
The rising trend of obesity in Australia could create a nation of infertile women, according to a University of Adelaide PhD researcher who is studying the link between excess weight and reproductive disorders.
Siew Lim, a physiology researcher in the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, says a large number of overweight and obese women are more likely to be infertile, suffer miscarriages and experience menstrual irregularities.
"Two thirds of Australians are now either overweight or obese and there is no sign of it levelling off. Metabolic diseases and obesity-related reproductive disorders are going to increase if nothing is done," Ms Lim says.
"We know that obese women are 2.7 times more likely to be infertile compared to normal women. Obesity rates have doubled in Australia in the last two decades and that is the reason why a lot of women are having trouble falling pregnant or carrying babies to full term."
Ms Lim says childhood obesity in adolescence and young adulthood needs to be targeted so that women enter their reproductive years without carrying excess weight.
"Obese women are more likely to give birth to obese large babies and this creates a vicious cycle. We need to break this cycle now, otherwise we will have a higher incidence of infertility and reproductive disorders."
Siew Lim is working with the CSIRO Human Nutrition division after graduating with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide and Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University. She is studying for her PhD under the supervision of Professor Robert Norman from the University's Research Centre for Reproductive Health and Dr Manny Noakes and Dr Peter Clifton from the CSIRO.
She is one of four inaugural 2006 Healthy Development Adelaide (HDA) Scholars. HDA is a State-wide centre which fosters research between various disciplines, relating to the healthy development of infants, children and teenagers.