Mir­a­cle seeks cure for weighty is­sue

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Student Life -

ARESEARCHE­R at Edge Hill Univer­sity is look­ing at in­equal­i­ties be­tween eth­nic groups to in­ves­ti­gate why Black, Asian and mi­nor­ity eth­nic (Bame) women typ­i­cally gain more weight dur­ing preg­nancy and ways to ad­dress health risks.

Mir­a­cle Ro­timi, a Nige­rian bio­chem­istry grad­u­ate who came to the UK to study public health, first grad­u­ated with a masters in public health nu­tri­tion at Edge Hill in De­cem­ber 2019.

Af­ter study­ing breast­feed­ing among women in Nige­ria for her masters, she de­cided to stay with the univer­sity to do a PhD on the weight change, diet and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity of preg­nant Bame women in Liver­pool.

The Com­mon­wealth Scholar turned her stud­ies from biological pro­cesses to public health in the UK driven by a de­sire to make more of an im­pact and help pre­vent dis­ease.

Mir­a­cle said: “My bio­chem­istry de­gree in Nige­ria fo­cused on the meta­bolic pro­cesses in the body, in­clud­ing how drugs and mol­e­cules like pro­teins and car­bo­hy­drates are metabolise­d.

“I dis­cov­ered that the causes of most diseases are linked to pre­ventable life­style choices, aside from ge­netic and au­toim­mune diseases.

“I felt I wanted to make more of an im­pact on public health by study­ing how a per­son’s life­style choices, some­thing they can con­trol, can make a dif­fer­ence to their health.

“For ex­am­ple, choices re­lated to ex­er­cise, diet, smok­ing and al­co­hol con­sump­tion all im­pact on a per­son’s chances of de­vel­op­ing dis­ease in­clud­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar diseases.

“I’m pas­sion­ate about nu­tri­tion and im­prov­ing the health of women and chil­dren, so when I came across the PhD re­search on Bame women at Edge Hill it res­onated with me so much that I wanted to be part of it.”

Mir­a­cle is now re­search­ing in­equal­i­ties be­tween dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups to try and dis­cover why Bame women typ­i­cally gain more weight dur­ing preg­nancy, are less ac­tive and eat less fruit and veg­eta­bles than white Bri­tish women.

She said: “It’s well es­tab­lished that ex­cess weight gain in preg­nancy is a risk fac­tor for ad­verse out­comes, while re­main­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive and main­tain­ing a healthy diet de­creases these risks.

“Among dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups in the UK there are per­sist­ing in­equal­i­ties, with Bame women hav­ing a higher risk of ad­verse preg­nancy out­comes such as ges­ta­tional di­a­betes, com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing labour etc. Black women are five times at risk of dy­ing dur­ing preg­nancy and child­birth and Asian women are twice as likely to die com­pared to white women.

“De­spite these grim sta­tis­tics, in­ter­ven­tions tai­lored to help re­duce the risk to Bame women are lack­ing in the UK, which high­lights a need that must be met.”

Mir­a­cle will be work­ing with Liver­pool Women’s Hospi­tal to con­duct in­ter­views with preg­nant women and con­tinue her re­search to try and un­der­stand why these in­equal­i­ties ex­ist.

She added: “I hope my re­search can aid un­der­stand­ing as to what fac­tors in­flu­ence the weight change, di­etary in­take and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els of Bame women, to in­form the de­vel­op­ment of fu­ture in­ter­ven­tions tai­lored to im­prove the out­come for Bame women.”

Mir­a­cle Ro­timi is a re­searcher at Edge Hill Univer­sity

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