A Grandfather’s Obesity Affects His Grandchildren’s Health

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A breakthrough in obesity research shows that a male’s predisposition to obesity affects not only his children’s health, but his grandchildren’s health as well. In a mouse study at Sydney’s Victor Chang Institute and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, scientists discovered that male mice that are obese at the time of conceiving have children and grandchildren that are initially predisposed to easily developing metabolic disease and eventually becoming obese.

Up until now, science has thought that a baby’s health relies significantly on the mother as soon as the baby is conceived. However, this research has provided us with scientific evidence that the father’s nutrition, diet, and metabolic health have significant impacts on the health of offspring 2 generations away – long before they are even conceived.

Scientists at the institute studied the father’s obesity across three generations. At first the offspring had observably good metabolic health but when they went on a ‘junk food’ diet, there was an immediate and automatic response in all the sons – in just a few weeks, they developed pre-diabetic symptoms and fatty liver disease.

Scientists further state the effects on the offspring are so dramatic that if they eat junk food even just for a short time, they develop a metabolic disease – all because their grandfather was predisposed to obesity, even if he was healthy and metabolically well at the time of conception.

The good news? Scientists observed that in the great grandsons of the obese mice, theirmetabolic health was improving significantly. This showed that it was possible to break the cycle of obesity, suggesting that being predisposed to obesity isn’t genetic but acquired. This means that it cannot only be undone, but it can ultimately be reversed.

Professor Febbraio from the Garvan Insitute concludes, “It’s important that we inform people of the implications of this study and possible risks so they can start making lifestyle changes now” emphasizing that people whose fathers or grandfathers were overweight or obese might have to watch their diet more carefully, and further warning expecting fathers that their own health could have a significant impact on their children and grandchildren.

(Photo Source: metro.co.uk / apcollege.edu.au)