WASHINGTON, February 20, 2017 – Childhood obesity is an increasing problem around the world, and a new study suggests genes may contribute to the problem. A new study by the University of Sussex in England has found that parents of obese children may have passed on their obesity genetically, according to Science Direct. The numbers are startlingly dramatic: 35 to 40 percent of a child’s body mass index, or BMI, is inherited from their parents.
Before parents begin to start blaming themselves for their overweight child or children, it is crucial that they understand that the study discovered that genetics only played one part in the overall overweight condition of their children. The environment also plays a key role, and therefore, it also can be part of the solution to dealing with childhood obesity.
Reducing weight in children requires increased nutrition and changes in daily eating and family behavior.
Intergenerational transmission of a child’s body mass index, or BMI was found to be equally genetically distributed between both parents. In addition, if the parents were both obese then the genetic contribution to their children rose from 35 to 40 percent to 55 to 60 percent. The researchers examined weight data from 100,000 children and their parents from the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Indonesia, Spain and Mexico, reported upi.
Childhood obesity is a worldwide problem. According to Peter Dolton of the University of Sussex, the parental genetic obesity distribution pattern is found to be incredibly consistent, “all countries, irrespective of their stage of economic development, degree of industrialisation, or type of economy.”
The findings can represent a clarion call for parents. The study shows that parents can begin to have a positive impact on their children’s health and over all development by taking charge at the moment of birth. Professor Dolton stressed that, “This shows that the children of obese parents are much more likely to be obese themselves when they grow up – the parental effect is more than double for the most obese children what it is for the thinnest children.”
The study’s conclusions can have dramatic far-reaching consequences for the world-wide health of children. According to the research, what a parent decides to do with his or her own health choices in eating and exercise can dictate the future health of their unborn child as well.