40% of a Child’s Weight is Linked to Their Parents, Study Finds

Research has shown that children with obese parents suffer from mental and motor difficulties, but a new study published in the Journal of Economics and Human Biology suggests being overweight can have a significant impact on a child’s weight.

University of Sussex researchers found that between 35 to 40 percent of fat or thin a child is linked their parents’ genes. Scientists also found a high correlation between obese children and their parents suggesting 55 to 60% of obesity is genetically related.

Moreover, scientists report 20% of a child’s body mass index (BMI) is linked to the mother, while the other 20% was due to the father.

Researchers were able to reach these results by examining the height and weight of over 100,000 children and their parents from across the world.

Lead author, Peter Dolton, an economics professor at the University of Sussex released a statement about the study saying, “This gives an important and rare insight into how obesity is transmitted across generations in both developed and developing countries.”

Dolton added, “We found that the process of intergenerational transmission is the same across all the different countries.”

Obesity is linked to an extensive list of health problems including diabetes and cancer. Previous studies have shown even weekend workouts are beneficial to an individual’s health. But, the study suggests that healthy habits can only do so much.

Dolton explained, “These findings have far-reaching consequences for the health of the world’s children. They should make us rethink the extent to which obesity is the result of family factors, and our genetic inheritance, rather than decisions made by us as individuals.”

A study published earlier this year found obese parents lead to child development issues. Published in the journal of “Pediatrics” researchers found children from obese mothers were more likely to have problems with their fine motor skills.Also, children of obese fathers were also more likely to have issues with problem-solving tasks, and challenges interacting with others.