January 05, 2017
It makes sense that parents’ diet and exercise habits can play a role in their children’s physical health outcomes, but a new study suggests moms' and dads' weight issues may also be linked to their children’s brain development.
The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, links parental obesity – that of both mothers and fathers – to children’s development delays, including lagging behind in social abilities, problem-solving and fine motor skills.
To come up with these findings, the researchers took a fresh look at old data from a study that looked at mothers' physical health before and after pregnancy in relation to the developmental progress of their 4-month-old children. The participants' children were analyzed at regular intervals throughout the study until age 3.
For that study, the women – 5,000 participants in all – also provided information on the weight of their partners.
Using the combined data, the NIH researchers were now able to draw the following conclusions:
Read the full study findings here.