Duchess of Cambridge's weight should not be media focus, says minister

Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities says Kate is expected to meet 'impossible standards' to lose weight after birth

Jo Swinson, the minister for women and equalities, has criticised the media attention on the Duchess of Cambridge's post-birth weight - singling out OK! Magazine as particularly egregious example.

Swinson, whose first child is due on Christmas day, said there was a "disgraceful focus" on the duchess's weight and that she was expected to meet "impossible standards".

"At a time when new mums are focused on building bonds with their newborns, the media unhelpfully churns out a set of impossible standards on losing babyweight within ridiculous timeframes," Swinson told the Sunday Times.

OK! had printed an edition just a few hours after Kate left hospital, headlined "Kate's post-baby weight loss regime" and featuring an "exclusive" interview with her trainer, subtitled "She's super-fit - her stomach will shrink straight back". It also featured "your exclusive Duchess diet and shape-up plan".

Swinson said: "Publications like OK! Magazine need to get some perspective - fitting back into pre-pregnancy jeans is not the priority after childbirth."

The minister has led a parliamentary body image campaign to help people improve the way they perceive their bodies and fight the idea that it is necessary to be very thin. She warned that most new mothers will feel under intense pressure to shift their weight gain quickly.

"We need to move away from the idea that women have to shed their baby weight quickly and that they're failing somehow if they don't - surveys show this is a concern for two-thirds of new mothers."

Swinson has worked with the Department of Health to establish a scheme in order to help new mothers deal with the pressure to lose weight.

"The government's body confidence campaign has put together a steering group of midwives, health visitors and other experts to look at how to raise awareness of the issue among health professionals," she added.

As part of the scheme, health visitors on routine checks will be trained to spot mothers who appear to be depressed about their body shape. The visitors will work with the mothers to focus on building a bond with their babies, rather than worry about losing weight.

- The duchess has received one of the less usual gifts for her newborn son from Australia's Northern Territory: a five-month-old saltwater crocodile, named, perhaps unsurprisingly, George.

Luckily for the croc and perhaps Prince George too, Kensington palace isn't expected to house him. His home will be at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin.

Cradling the baby croc - but carefully avoiding its mouth - Adam Giles, chief minister of the Northern Territory, announced the gift.

"In gifting this baby crocodile that we've named George," Giles said, "we've said that we will encourage new Prince George to come out ... and visit your gift, little crocodile George, the royal crocodile. Come out and visit at any point in time."

 

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