Child Obesity Could Be 35 To 40 Percent Inherited From Parents: Study

Posted: Feb 21 2017, 12:48pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 21 2017, 1:08pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Child's Obesity could be 35 to 40 Percent Inherited from Parents: Study
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More than half of a child's tendency towards obesity is determined by genetics and family environment

Genes impact every aspect of human life from development of body to adaptation and skills. And obesity is no exception to that. However, the extent or contribution of genes to a person's obesity was largly unknown - until now.

Researchers from University of Sussex have found that a child inherits 35 to 40 percent of its obesity from their parents. It inevitably means if your parents are obese, you will likely develop weight issues or obesity.

Researchers have reached this conclusion after examining data on around 100,000 children and parents from six countries: UK, USA, China, Indonesia, Spain and Mexico. They compared both the height and weight of children with their parents and found a significant association between the two groups. Researchers found that around 40 percent of a child’s body mass index (BMI) is inherited from their parents.

BMI is often used to determine a person's obesity as it measures the body fat based on height and weight. On average, 20 per cent of a child’s BMI is due to the mother and 20 per cent due to the father.

"Our evidence comes from trawling data from across the world with very diverse patterns of nutrition and obesity -- from one of the most obese populations -- USA -- to two of the least obese countries in the world -- China and Indonesia. This gives an important and rare insight into how obesity is transmitted across generations in both developed and developing countries,” said lead author Professor Peter Dolton.

“We found that the process of intergenerational transmission is the same across all the different countries.”

We are in the midst of an obesity endemic as more than one third of US adults are now considered to be obese. So, gaining a better understanding of the genetic contributions to obesity could pave the way toward better preventive measures.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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