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Study: Parental Obesity Can Affect Offspring’s Development

Dorathy Gass

According to a recent study, parents that are obese can create a negative impact on their child’s development. The study reveals that these children of overweight parents might have a risk of developmental delays.

In America, approximately one out of five women are obese when they conceive, set at a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30; where the average is from 18.5 to 24.9. Unfortunately, not much research has dived into a dad’s weight and how it can affect his children, though we know that about 20 to 30 percent of American adults – male and female – are overweight.

Well, CNN reported that a team coming from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development embarked on a mission to learn more about this, where Dr. Edwina Yeung, lead researcher notes that the study was one of few that had information about dads in the results, where they go on to suggest that a father’s weight has a tremendous influence when it comes to their offspring’s development.

The study reviewed over 4,800 kids from the age of four months to three years old from 2008 to 2010. When matched against mothers who were underweight or average, offspring of moms who were obese were likelier to have difficulty when using their small muscles (i.e. hands or fingers).

Children with fathers who were obese were linked to an increased chance of not passing personal-social functions like feeding themselves, getting undressing, or simply playing. Those children with parents who suffered extreme obesity were likelier to fail when it came to problem-solving activities.

The team used stats from the Upstate KIDS study, ongoing research that follows over 6,000 New York state children. The goal of this research is to monitor the social development, motor, and growth of these kids and how it links to pregnancy complications, infertility treatments, increased maternal age, and of course obesity. Parents participating in the study regularly complete an Ages and Stages survey regarding their kiddos. Yeung notes that the questionnaire is a tool for screening, stating that it helps provide insight on whether a child is on point when it comes to behaviors and their age. The questionnaire was setup to track the progress around development and pinpoint delays within kids up to the age of six.

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