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Childhood obesity - blame it on Dad?

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Childhood obesity - blame it on Dad?

Children whose fathers are overweight or obese are four times more likely to be overweight themselves than children with normal weight fathers.

If you’re concerned about your children gaining too much weight, you might want to check their dad’s eating habits. It seems that children whose fathers are overweight or obese are four times more likely to be overweight themselves.

Researchers at Australia’s University of Newcastle based their findings on data collected as part of a longitudinal study of 3,000 Australian families between 2004 and 2008. The weights of the children were recorded when they were four and five years old and then again when they were eight and nine years old.

Their study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed that the children whose dads were overweight or obese were four times more likely to also be overweight than the children whose dads were in the regular weight range.

Though the lead researcher, Dr. Emily Freeman, could not confirm the reason for the study’s outcome, she speculated that children likely model their fathers’ eating and exercise behaviour.

It’s a good news, bad news story: good news for moms whose guilt quotients are already high; bad news for dads who may now find themselves without a remote for the TV, fewer snacking options in the pantry, and plenty of advice about how to set a better example.

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