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Can Parents Pass Down Weight Problems to Kids?

We all know that genetics can play a role in our our health. After all, every stinkin’ time you go to the doctor, they ask you to update your family-health history. And then there’s the curious study that shows that children of mothers who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight later in life. Now we all know (and certainly we believe!) that a healthy lifestyle can trump genetics most of the time, but new research is muddying the waters about how genes are inherited and—more importantly—how those genes are turned on and off.

Something called the “epigenetic” effect (my new fave word, by the way) may be at play when it comes to obesity, researchers say. Basically things in and around our DNA that tell our body what to do, our epigenome is changing all the time. And the kicker? Scientists think obesity can jack it up, hence obese parents are more likely to create obese kids—and not just because Dad introduced them to Cheetos, although that certainly plays a role (as do chemicals, the water we drink and the air we breathe).

While the study is pretty focused on following the genetic and environmental reasons why we gain weight, I really wish instead that researchers would focus on how a healthy weight is passed down the genetic line. I imagine it’s much the same, but maybe not. I mean, why spend all this time trying to figure out why people gain weight when instead youcould focus on how healthy people stay healthy? Just a Fit Bottomed musing…

Read more about the obesity and genetics study here. And tell us what you think in the comments! —Jenn


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