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Thursday 27th October 2016

Same-sex parent link to obesity

13th July 2009

A study by the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth has found that same-sex parents and offspring are more likely to be obese.


The research involved 226 families and showed that obese women had 10 times the likelihood of having obese daughters. 41% of the eight-year-old girls born to obese women were also obese, in comparison to only 4% of daughters of non-obese mothers.

Obese men had six times the probability of having obese sons. 18% of sons of obese men were obese, in comparison to only 3% of the sons of non-obese fathers.

However,  the effect was not seen in offspring of the opposite gender.

The team said it was "highly unlikely" that genetics was playing a part in the connection. They pointed to "behavioural sympathy" where daughters tried to act like their mothers and sons imitated their fathers.

Obesity policy is mainly directed at helping obese children to lose weight, as overweight children are thought to grow up to become obese adults.

The researchers said that eight out of ten obese adults had not been seriously overweight when they were young.

Study leader Professor Terry Wilkin said: "It is the reverse of what we have thought and this has fundamental implications for policy."

"We should be targeting the parents and that is not something we have really done to date."

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