Obese parents increase risk of extra weight in kids

April 22, 2010 in Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Obese parents increase risk of extra weight in kids
UK researchers are reporting that children with two obese parents have a substantially higher risk of becoming obese themselves.

In fact, researchers found that among more than 7,000 two to fifteen year-olds, those who had two obese parents were a staggering 12 times more likely to be obese than children with two normal-weight parents. That was after factors such as socioeconomics, and ethnicity were taken into account.

The study, based on data from 4,432 UK families who took part in an annual national health survey between 2001 and 2006, found that in 38 percent of the families, at least one parent was obese, while 8 percent had two obese parents. Only 14 percent of families were headed by two normal-weight parents.

Child obesity was uncommon in families with two normal-weight parents, at roughly 2 percent. But in families with two obese parents, 22 percent of kids were also obese; when both parents were severely obese, 35 percent of children were obese.

Researchers found that mothers' weight showed a particularly strong association with children's weight. When the researchers did a statistical analysis, they found that mothers' weight showed a statistically stronger association with children's weight than did fathers'.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are not the first to connect parents' obesity to their kids' risk.  In fact, other studies have found similar results, also highlighting the role of mothers' weight. 

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