Couples' lifestyle choices 'affects obesity risk more than upbringing'

23 February 2016

A new study has indicated that lifestyle choices among adult couples can have a bigger impact on their risk of obesity than their individual upbringing.

The University of Edinburgh study analysed data from 20,000 Scottish people, comparing their family genetics and home environments in childhood and adulthood, before relating these to assessments of their health and obesity.

It was shown that by middle age, choices made by couples - including those linked to diet and exercise - have a much greater impact on their health and obesity levels than the way they were brought up with their parents and siblings.

Middle-aged siblings were shown to have a shared risk of being obese, but this was explained as being more to do with a shared genetic profile rather than habits from earlier years.

Professor Chris Haley of the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh said: "Our study has shown that the environment you share with your partner in adulthood also influences whether you become obese and this is more important than your upbringing."

However, he also noted that this can mean that people who come from families with a history of obesity can take action to reduce their own risk simply by changing their lifestyle habits.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 


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