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A Father’s Diet Can Predict Kid’s Risk Of Disease

A Father’s Diet Can Predict Kid’s Risk Of Disease

A recent study published in the journal Cell found that paternal eating habits prior to conception can influence an unborn child’s level of risk for complex diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life.

Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin found indication that parental diet, especially that of the male parent, can affect cholesterol and lipid metabolism in offspring (Futurity).

From the study: “Offspring of [male mice] fed a low-protein diet exhibited elevated hepatic expression of many genes involved in lipid and cholesterol biosynthesis and decreased levels of cholesterol esters, relative to the offspring of males fed a control diet.”

Contemporary research focused on improving childhood health and kids’ eating habits have increasingly shown that parents dietary choices might be more powerful than previously thought.

A study recently conducted by Mildred Horodynski, a professor of nursing at Michigan State University, showed that the toddlers were less likely to consume real foods, like fruits and vegetables, four or more times a week if their mothers did not consume that amount (Read more: Kids Are More Likely To Eat Veggies When Mom Does Too).

Although Horodynski’s study focused on dietary habits and preferences passed from mothers during personal interaction, the University of Texas-Austin study suggests that “offspring can inherit such acquired characters even from a parent they have never directly interacted with, which provides a novel mechanism through which natural selection could act in the course of evolution.”

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Image Credit: Flickr - Sam Pullara

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10:37AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011


3:24AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

This is kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?

4:28PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

Both parents contribute equally to a child's wellbeing!

12:45PM PST on Feb 14, 2011

Yes, of course.

6:25AM PST on Jan 30, 2011

Much is learned through example as well passed through the genes....

11:40PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

Lead a good example. This helps. And don't be picky with food, be an explorer.

12:03PM PST on Jan 14, 2011

I'm pretty sure that this article is talking about epigenetics, in which case, both the mother's diet and the father's diet can predict the health of their child.

Epigenetics is basically the study of the epigenome, which can either be "switched on" or "switched off."

But this can happen for reasons that are not just the diet. An epigenome can be switched off due to many reasons, such as stress.

If anyone is interested in learning more about this in a much more comprehensive way than my poorly constructed comment here, they should watch the BBC documentary The Ghost in Our Genes, which can be found in 5 parts on Youtube.

It's really amazing.

7:48AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Notice that the study was done in mice... this actually makes a much more compelling argument because the effect of what a parent eats later on in life is completely controlled. I'm sure that after birth all offspring were fed the exact same diet, so the effect of what mom and dad eats (which is found in humans) is not an issue in this study. Lab animals make better models than humans because their environment can be completely controlled.

3:06AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

This is old news. I knew about this when I was 15 and saw all the kids popping out of my friends girlfriends, then hearing about all the same problems they had by the time we graduated. Get with the program, if you didn't know this before then you are slow witted. Stop watvhing reality programs, stop Facebooking and actually go out into the world and learn something.

11:34AM PST on Jan 13, 2011

of course the fathers eating habits are important!! the way both the parents eat will be passed to that child through genetics.

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