SYDNEY, Oct. 22 (UPI) — An overweight father who eats a high-fat diet may increase his child’s risk of diabetes, say researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Professor Margaret Morris of the University of New South Wales School of Medical Sciences says in a study involving rodents, a father who ate a high-fat diet initiates progression to metabolic disease — in the next generation.
“We’ve known for a while that overweight mums are more likely to have chubby babies, and that a woman’s weight before and during pregnancy can play a role in future disease in her children, partly due to the critical role the intrauterine environment plays in development,” Morris says in a statement.
“A family history of diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for the disease; however until now, the extent of any influence of non-genetic paternal factors has been unclear.”
The male rats were fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity and glucose intolerance and then mated with rats with normal weight. The female offspring showed impaired glucose tolerance and insulin secretion as young adults, the study says.
The findings are reported in the journal Nature and are scheduled to be presented at the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society meeting in Sydney.
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