New Study: Obesity linked to same-sex parent
According to a study on 226 families by Plymouth's Peninsula Medical School, obesity of children is often linked to same-sex parent. Daughters were said to be 10 times more likely to be obese in case of obese mothers, sons 6 times more likely to be obese in case of obese fathers. Children of the opposite sex were generally not affected.
They found that 41% of the eight-year-old daughters of obese mothers were obese, compared to 4% of girls with normal-weight mothers. There was no difference in the proportion for boys. For boys, 18% of the group with obese fathers were also obese, compared to just 3% for those with normal-weight fathers. Again, there was no difference in the proportion for girls.
Further, it was stressed that the link cannot be found in genetics but rather in some form of "behavioural sympathy" since children tend to copy the lifestyles of the same-sex parent.
This finding can have a significant impact on how to target child obesity. The focus would have to shift away from the child towards the parent.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said: "This is telling the government that they now have to look for a new direction. We have to make sure parents are in a good condition to bring up their children in a normal manner."
Additionally the study also rejects the notion that obese children will become obese adults. Eight out of ten obese adults were shown to have not been severely overweight as children.