Parents' weight affects children, study shows

5 October 2011

Overweight parents are more likely to have children who are obese which could lead to the need for weight loss surgery, according to a new study.

Thinner children are therefore more likely to come from slimmer families, researchers at University College London (UCL) have found through a national health survey for England.

Published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the study found that there is a strong association between children's and parents' body size.

When both parents were in the thinner half of the healthy weight range, the chance of the child being thin was 16.2 per cent, compared with 7.8 per cent when both parents were in the upper half of range.

In comparison, 5.3 per cent of children with two overweight parents are likely to be thin.

Lead author Dr Katriina Whitaker, UCL epidemiology and public health specialist, commented: "We know from other studies that children's weights are correlated with those of their parents, but previous research has tended to focus on obesity rather than the other end of the spectrum."

A further study published in Obesity suggested that green tea could decrease the risk of obesity after lab tests on mice showed positive results.


Whitaker, K, et al., "The Intergenerational Transmission of Thinness", Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, October 3rd 2011.

Lambert, J, "Epigallocatechin-3-gallate Inhibits Pancreatic Lipase and Reduces Body Weight Gain in High Fat-Fed Obese Mice", Obesity, June 2nd 2011.

By Edward Bartel


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