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Why Being a Fat Dad Can Make Your Kids Obese

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    It's time to stop directing all the blame for childhood obesity on "fat moms" and shift some of that attention to obese fathers.

    A mice study shows that obese fathers passed this trait most often to female offspring. However … male offspring didn't completely escape this legacy. Children of both genders of obese dads have increased risks of getting a metabolic disease like type 2 diabetes, says this study.

    Tod Fullston, PhD, one of the researchers, explains that if these study results carry over to humans, a man's body composition and diet -- at the time his sperm joins the egg -- can actually affect his future child's risk of lifelong disease.

    "Fathers should aim to be as healthy as possible at the time of conception," says Fullston, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Robinson Institute, Research Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Adelaide, South Australia. This is important so that children and future generations have the best chance for good health.

    Though the research involved mice, don't let that fool you. In the study, two groups of male mice were used. One group was fed high fat food. The other group was fed nutritious food.

    The "fast food" mice put on more body fat, though didn't show diabetes. Now, these two groups of mice were then mated to mice of normal weight.

    The offspring were then mated to normal weight mice to create the second generation. So we have a first generation and a second generation.

    BOTH these generations had obesity and metabolic disorders, which were traced back to the father's and grandfather's diets.

    Genetic material from the sperm of the obese mice was compared to that of the control mice. Researchers speculate that this material sustained changes that could have, at least in part, caused the transmission of the obesity and metabolic disease to the offspring.

    The deduction is that diet alters sperm's molecular makeup. Such sperm, when penetrating an egg and creating offspring, programs embryos in a negative way, increasing their risk of health ailments -- and extending on to the next generation, even.

    Based on this mouse model, it would be very wise for men to whip their bodies into shape via exercise (to slash excess body fat) and healthy eating, so that their children do not have increased risk of obesity or other health issues.

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