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Overweight dads related to unhealthy kids: Australian research

10-21-2010 10:47 BJT

SYDNEY, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers said on Thursday, a father's diet and weight can increase the risk of diabetes in his children.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (NSW) fed male rats with a high fat diet until they were obese and showing the signs of diabetes.

The fat rats were then bred with healthy normal weight females and their offspring were reared in a controlled environment and on a strict healthy diet.

Despite this, researchers found the female offspring had signs of impaired glucose tolerance and insulin production when they reached young adulthood.

However, a less pronounced result was seen in the young males, though the researchers suspect they were lagging the females and their condition would worsen later.

The study's author, Professor Margaret Morris, from the University of NSW's School of Medical Sciences, said it was the " first report of non-genetic, intergenerational transmission of metabolic consequences of a high fat diet from father to offspring ".

The study published in the journal Nature, showed how overweight fathers could prompt "epigenetic changes" in their offspring, possibly triggered by the damage to their sperm from a high fat diet.

Morris suggested that men should think more carefully about their diet and exercise before having children.

"The final message that comes out of this is that blokes as well as women need to eat healthier, reduce smoking and reduce alcohol excess before they get pregnant," Morris said.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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