Do men pass on obesity genes?

| 13 January 2016
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Romain Barrès’ team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found marked differences in the sperm from 13 lean and 10 moderately obese men. They discovered a pattern of genetic markers in the sperm of the obese men that are involved in the control of genes associated with appetite and brain development. These patterns were not present in the sperm of lean men.

Most research into how obesity passes between generations has focused on mothers and their diet before or during pregnancy. This new study suggests that dad’s health may also be important.

Susan Ozanne at the University of Cambridge is quoted in Susan Ozanne at the University of Cambridge, is quoted in New Scientist as saying: “The results add to the body of evidence that we are not just products of ‘what our mothers ate’, but also ‘what our fathers ate’”.

Would-be parents should aim to be as healthy as possible at the time of conception. If you want to shed a few pounds see our fabulous 5:2 Vegan Style guide which explains why weight loss is fast on this diet and how to keep the weight off.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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