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Fathers May Be Putting Their Offspring At Risk For Developing Diabetes

November 4, 2010 by  

Fathers may be putting their offspring at risk for developing diabetesParents-to-be could consider consuming healthy and nutritional foods as new research indicates that there is a link between a father's weight during the time of conception and his child's diabetes risk.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia noted that previous studies have found that overweight mothers are more likely to give birth to larger babies. A mother's weight before she becomes pregnant also contributes to future problems, like diabetes, for her children.

However, the new research suggests that a father's diet can also contribute to his newborn child's risk for developing diabetes.

Scientists came to this conclusion after feeding male rats a high fat diet in order to induce obesity. The subjects then mated with female rodents that were of normal weight. As a result, the offspring had a low tolerance for glucose and insulin once they became young adults.

In the study, it was noted that this research shows overweight fathers may actually program epigenetic changes in their unborn children. This process alters a gene's function. The scientists indicated that these changes could occur in the sperm as a result of a high-fat diet.

In turn, leading a healthier lifestyle could reduce a child's risk for developing potential problems.

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  • coal miner

    Diabetic Risk:

    Men with high-fat diets are more likely to have diabetic children, research showed Thursday, in the first study linking a baby’s health to what their father ate.

    The study tracked a group of rats that were fed fatty foods until they were obese and showing precursory signs of type 2 diabetes and were then bred with females of average weight, explained lead researcher Margaret Morris.

    Morris said that despite being reared on a strictly healthy diet, their offspring developed impaired glucose tolerance and insulin production when they reached young adulthood.

    “If what we are seeing here in a rat translates to a human it may well explain the emerging earlier rates of diabetes in younger and younger people,” said Morris, from the University of New South Wales.

    Rather than passing their ill health onto their children genetically Morris said the metabolic issues appeared to have come from damage done to the rats’ sperm by their diet. It was the first study to uncover such a link, she added.

    “We’ve known for a while that overweight mums are more likely to have chubby babies, and that a woman’s weight before and during pregnancy can play a role in future disease in her children,” she said. “But until now, the impact of the father’s environment — in terms of diet — on his offspring had not been investigated.”

    Morris said the message of the research, published in the latest edition of Nature, was that “blokes as well as women need to eat healthier, reduce smoking and reduce alcohol excess” before having children.

    Copyright © 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC. The number-one nonfiction media company.

  • http://YouTube.com Larry

    Does this research really explain why slim beautifull young teen girls have beautifull slim children and older girls who have eaten their way fat have dumppy fat little children? Perhapps.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Larry,
      then how do you explain the fat mother and fathers that have thin very beautiful children????

      • Bleh

        Those that are fat are at risk of raising fat children. This simply means they could, not that they necessarily will.
        My question is weather or not there is a genetic marker that predisposes someone to gaining weight and whether or not actually being heavy increases the likelihood of passing it on?

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