DOCTORS often avoid discussing obesity with patients, fearing they might cause offence.
Obstetrician Pieter Mourik said that ignored the clear link with medical problems.
He said professionals were negligent if they did not discuss the issue.
“In my field of women’s health, obesity is a major cause of disease,” he said.
Dr Mourik said an obese pregnant woman left herself open to a miscarriage, stillbirth, high blood pressure, diabetes, more difficult births and much heavier bleeding after birth.
The risks to men included prostate and bowel cancer and a greater likelihood of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
“Our skeleton is designed for about 65 kilograms for the average woman and 70 kilograms for a man,” he said.
“It is no surprise obesity increases osteoarhritis involving ankles, knees, hips and back.”
Dr Mourik said teachers had a “unique opportunity” to start a healthy education at an early age.
“Of course, parents need to be responsible for their children but, unfortunately, fat parents do not demonstrate a good role model,” he said.
“Obese people need to learn they have a disease they can cure.”