On Demand Webinar: Perspectives in Maternal Obesity: Joint webinar with ASO and the BDA

Clinical Category
Exercise and Movement
Food, Nutrition and Diet
Health Promotion
Weight stigma and discrimination
Site Category
Target Audience
Commissioners of care and other obesity interested organisation representatives
Healthcare professionals
Movement and Exercise professionals

This webinar will explore different perspectives in maternal obesity. These include the implications for fetal development and lifelong health of the child, nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy, maternal obesity stigma, and the patient perspective of living with obesity while pregnant. We invite experts in these fields to share their research and experiences, and provide an opportunity for a panel discussion to explore the different perspectives.

6.00pm: Welcome, Maria Bryant, University of York

6.05pm: Maternal obesity and the health of the next generation, Keith Godfrey, University of Southampton

6.25pm: Assessment of diet quality in a low-risk sample of pregnant women in Melbourne, Australia, Paige van der Pligt; Deakin University, Australia

6.32pm: Eating for two: Quality not quantity, Julie Abayomi; Edgehill University

6.40pm: The weight of stigma and bias in pregnancy: Maternal obesity experiences and suggestions for next steps , Taniya S. Nagpal; Brock University, Canada

6.55pm: Lived experience, Sarah Le Brocq; Obesity Advocate & Patient Leader

7.05pm: Panel Q&A, chaired by Nicola Heslehurst, Newcastle University

This webinar is being run jointly with The Association of UK Dietitians


Novo Nordisk has provided sponsorship to the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) to fully fund all costs for the development of this webinar, including creation, organisation, production and administration. Novo Nordisk has had no influence on the content and full editorial control remains the sole responsibility of ASO. None of the speakers have received a fee for their participation in this webinar, and ASO has been fully responsible for engaging with participants.


Keith Godfrey

Keith Godfrey
University of Southampton

Keith Godfrey MBE, BM PhD FRCP FMedSci leads the Lifecourse Nutrition, Lifestyle and Health Theme in the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, is an NIHR Senior Investigator and Professor of Epidemiology & Human Development at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton. Other appointments include Honorary Consultant, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust; Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore; and Trustee of the International DOHaD Society.

Keith is a principal investigator on international mother-offspring cohort and intervention studies examining developmental programming of obesity, type-2 diabetes and neuropsychological function. His research is characterising optimal diet and body composition for parents and their offspring before, during and after pregnancy, alongside understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms and pathways underlying lasting effects of the developmental environment on later phenotype. His work has paved the way for intervention preconception aimed at improving the life chances of the next generation, including the primary prevention of childhood obesity. Currently he is also involved in work to support the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Paige van der Pligt

Paige van der Pligt
Deakin University, Australia

Dr Paige van der Pligt is a Senior Lecturer in nutrition in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University and a researcher in the Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition. She also holds an honorary research appointment at the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital and has recently joined the editorial board with the journal BMC Family Practice. Her research targets pregnancy nutrition, risk factors for poor cardiometabolic health in pregnancy including maternal obesity, gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension. She is also interested micronutrient deficiencies in pregnancy and the impact on maternal and child health. She is an advanced accredited practising dietitian and worked for several years in the clinical dietetics field before embarking on a career in research.


Julie Abayomi

Julie Abayomi
Edgehill University

Dr Julie Abayomi is a Reader in Dietetics & Associate Head of Applied Health & Social care at Edge Hill University. She graduated in nutrition and dietetics from Cardiff in 1993 and worked as an NHS dietitian for over 20 years, specialising in women’s health and nutrition for 12 years. Research interests include: maternal nutrition, overweight and underweight in pregnancy; diabetes and pregnancy. Previous projects include ‘Fit for Birth’ - a longitudinal cohort study of obese pregnant women at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and two qualitative studies exploring the experiences of midwives and pregnant women regarding healthy eating and weight management advice during pregnancy.

Taniya Nagpal

Taniya S. Nagpal
Brock University, Canada

Taniya Nagpal is an Assistant Professor at Brock University in Kinesiology. Taniya’s research takes a person-oriented approach to understand weight stigma and bias during pregnancy and the effect this may have on maternal health behaviours like physical activity, clinical interactions, and perinatal outcomes. The goal of this work is to inform inclusive clinical practices and lifestyle interventions, and contribute to dismantling weight biased public discourse in pregnancy. Taniya completed her PhD from The University of Western Ontario and her thesis work was focused on enhancing adherence to prenatal physical activity. She then completed her post-doctoral fellowship with The University of Ottawa and The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), where she explored weight bias experienced in pregnancy in clinical settings, and supported knowledge translation initiatives with The SOGC. She is actively involved as an action committee member with Obesity Canada, steering committee member with The American College of Sports Medicine Pregnancy and Exercise Group, and incoming Co-Chair for the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Children and Families Special Interest Group.


Sarah le BrocqSarah Le Brocq
Obesity Advocate & Patient Leader

Sarah Le Brocq has a unique skillset of living with obesity, a background in science, 16 years’ experience of working in the pharmaceutical industry, alongside the NHS and 6 years’ experience of being a trustee/Director of Obesity UK. Sarah is currently founding a new Obesity Organisation, which is aiming to be the equivalent of Diabetes UK in the obesity space. ‘The new Obesity Organisation aims to be the leading obesity organisation for advancing obesity research, supporting and driving public education, a trusted resource for people living with obesity, healthcare professionals and policymakers and a support platform for people living with obesity.’

Sarah is known as a Thought Leader in the Obesity space, has a wide network of relationships with key obesity stakeholders. She is also well known in the media and is regularly called upon to give her thoughts and expertise around current Obesity affairs.

She sits of the strategic council for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity, is a patient representative on the Advisory Group on Nutrition Weight & Health for the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), a stakeholder in NHSE’s new National Obesity Audit, a lay member on the NICE Weight Management Committee and a representative on the OHA Healthy Weight Strategy, lived experience group. She has also co-authored a number of published academic papers in scientific journals.


Maria BryantDr Maria Bryant
University of York

Dr Bryant is a nutritionist with almost 20 years’ experience in the design and delivery of trials and related methodological research in the field of diet and obesity, with a special interest in early years and childhood. In addition to her academic role at the University of York, she is the Chair of the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO);  Director of Nutrition Research for Born in Bradford, the lead for Diet and Obesity evaluation for a Better Start Bradford; the school food lead for Fix our Food and the evaluation Chair of ‘ActEarly’, a MRC funded project aiming to promote a healthier, happier, and fairer future for children.

Nicola Heslehurst

Nicola Heslehurst
Newcastle University

My research focuses on maternal weight and reproductive health, particularly relating to inequalities and health service improvement. I commenced my current role at Newcastle University in January 2012.

I currently hold an NIHR Advanced (Career Development) Fellowship which uses risk prediction and health economics to explore whether alternative measures of adiposity in early pregnancy would be more preferable to BMI in identifying women who require additional clinical care and weight management support. 

I am co-lead for the Early Life and Adolescence Programme (ELAP) in Fuse, a Public Health Research Centre of Excellence for Translational Research.