Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parental weight strongly influences thinness in children

Date:
October 4, 2011
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Children with thinner parents are three times more likely to be thin than children whose parents are overweight, according to a new study.

Children with thinner parents are three times more likely to be thin than children whose parents are overweight, according to a new study by UCL researchers.

The study, published October 3 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, shows strong familial influence on pediatric thinness. It was based on results from the Health Survey for England, in which data are collected annually from multiple households. From 2001 to 2006, trained interviewers recorded the heights and weights of parents and up to two children in 7,000 families, and used this information to calculate their BMI.

The results showed a strong association between children's and parents' body size. When both parents were in the thinner half of the healthy-weight range, the chance of the child being thin was 16.2%, compared with 7.8% when both parents were in the upper half of the healthy weight range, 5.3% with two overweight parents, and only 2.5% for children with two obese parents.

402 (5.7%) of the 7078 children and teenagers in the study were categorised as thin according to International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria which specify thinness in children as having a current BMI that would predict a BMI less than 18.5 in adulthood. Thinness was more common in younger children but no differences were observed by sex or socioeconomic status.

Previous research shows that obesity runs in families partly because of parent-to-child transmission of multiple genes conferring a higher risk for adiposity (fatness). Finding that thinness in children is related to thinness in parents suggests that thinness may be inherited in the same way, with children of thinner parents being likely to be genetically predisposed to have a lower body weight. In this study, the authors did not find any differences between the effects of mothers' and fathers' weights on child thinness.

Lead author Dr Katriina Whitaker, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, commented: "We know from other studies that children's weights are correlated with those of their parents, but previous research has tended to focus on obesity rather than the other end of the spectrum."

Professor Jane Wardle, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, added: "Parents are often concerned if their child is thin, but it may just be their 'skinny genes'. All genes have two versions, called alleles. We might think of weight-related genes as having a 'skinny' and 'curvy' allele. Thinner parents are likely to have more of the skinny alleles, increasing the chance of passing them on to their children. A child who inherits more of the skinny alleles from their parents will be naturally thinner."

This study was funded by a grant from Cancer Research UK, which provides core funding to the Health Behaviour Research Centre, part of the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. L. Whitaker, M. J. Jarvis, D. Boniface, J. Wardle. The Intergenerational Transmission of Thinness. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2011; 165 (10): 900 DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.147

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Parental weight strongly influences thinness in children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003161933.htm>.
University College London. (2011, October 4). Parental weight strongly influences thinness in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003161933.htm
University College London. "Parental weight strongly influences thinness in children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111003161933.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins