Obesity in father may raise kid’s cancer risk

Obesity in father may raise kid’s cancer risk

Fertility rates have been falling in the modern world for decades alongside the obesity surge.

We know that diet, lifestyle and environmental factors during pregnancy directly affect children’s health and their risk of chronic diseases.

This study is the first to show what many of us have suspected, that paternal obesity may alter a genetic mechanism in the next generation.

“This study is an important start in looking at the effects of environmental exposure on children, not only through the mother but also through the father.  Understanding the risks of the current Western lifestyle on future generations is important.  The aim of this study was to determine potential associations between obesity in parents prior to conception and epigenetic profiles in offspring, particularly at certain gene regulatory regions.  Although we cannot define at this point which obesity-related factor may cause an epigenetic effect, we measured in this study a significant association between paternal obesity and aberrant methylation profiles in the offspring
Adelheid Soubry, molecular biologist, Duke Cancer Institute.

“Our genes are able to adapt to our environment.  However, we adjust in a way that may be problematic later.  It is not a change in the sequence of the DNA itself, but how genes are expressed.  Some genes may get ‘shut off’ as a result of environmental trauma”
Cathrine Hoyo, Cancer Epidemiologist.

Study published in the journal BMC Medicine, 2013 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-30 from data through families enrolled in the Newborn Epigenetics Study (NEST), a research program funded by the National Institutes of Health to test the influence of environmental exposures on genetic profiles in newborns.  The American Cancer Society, Fulbright, and the Fred and Alice Stanback Foundation supported the study.  As reported by biomedcentral.com on February 6, 2013.


 

Posted: Monday 9 September 2013

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