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A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that mothers with obesity may pass on the risk of the disease to their daughters but not to their sons. Obesity is a prevalent and expensive disease that affects almost 50% of adults and 20% of kids in the US. In addition, those with obesity are more likely to develop various medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

Girls of obese mothers are more likely to be obese

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre, University of Southampton’s Rebecca Moon said that the findings indicate that girls born to obese or high body fat mothers may have a higher chance of gaining excess body fat themselves. Therefore, it is recommended to start addressing body weight and composition early, particularly for girls born to mothers with obesity or overweight.

A group of researchers investigated the link between the body mass index (BMI) and the amount of body fat and muscle in children and their parents. The study involved 240 children and their parents aged nine years or younger. The researchers collected data on the body fat and muscle of the participants in early childhood to establish whether there was a correlation between the parent’s and children’s BMI, body fat, and muscle.

Girls have the same BMI as the fat mass of their mothers

Surprisingly, the study revealed that girls had similar BMI and fat mass to their mothers, indicating that girls born to mothers with obesity or high-fat mass are more likely to develop obesity or become overweight. However, the researchers did not find the same association between boys and their mothers or between either boys or girls and their fathers.

These findings suggest that a genetic or environmental factor may predispose girls to develop obesity or become overweight if their mothers have high body fat or obesity. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the BMI and body composition of young children, especially girls born to mothers with high-fat mass or obesity, to prevent the development of obesity and related health complications later in life.