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Grandparents may be to blame for obesity in children

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Could your parents be responsible for your child’s obesity? Yes, according to research. In the first study to examine the relationship between grandparent and grandchild abdominal obesity, investigators found a link between the two.

The study found a consistent relationship between waist circumference in maternal grandmother and grandchild, with no relationship seen in other lineages.

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The association was seen at both time points analysed: when children were five-years-old and nine-years-old. Data came from participants in the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study, which was initiated in 2001 in Ireland. The results may suggest an intrauterine or environmental effect, with potential public health and clinical implications.

“These findings may have practical implications for family interventions at a time of global challenge in combating obesity,” said senior author Dr Cecily Kelleher. “But they also emphasize the need to understand in scientific terms cross-generation transmission of non-communicable disease risk.”

The findings appear in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

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