Children Are Influenced By Parents Weight

Children with parents who are a normal weight are three times more likely to have a normal weight than children whose parents are overweight, according to a study by UK researchers at the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health.

The study shows strong parental influence on children’s weight. Results were based on info from the Health Survey for England which collects data annually from multiple households.  From 2001 to 2006, the heights and weights of parents and up to two children in 7,000 families were recorded and this information to calculate and compare the family’s BMI.  There was a strong association between children’s and parents’ body size.

Some prior research has indicated that obesity may have some hereditary basis and now researchers are wondering if thinness might also be inherited.

However, many current obese parents did not have obese parents themselves and became obese later in life.  In the same way, there are many normal weight people whose parents were obese.  Also, there are people who started out at a normal weight and became obese along with people who were obese and are now at a normal weight.  Why and how are we to evaluate possible hereditary links?

In our opinion, it is possible that some tendencies to be obese or thin may be passed on to children during development in the womb.  It is also possible and highly likely that diet and lifestyle choices of overweight and obese parents are passed along to their children.  Children will eat what parents eat and what their parents provide them to eat or allow them to eat.  Almost all our early learning is by the example of our parents and other family members.  No one is doomed to obesity.

It is critical for parents to educate themselves, take care of themselves and set the proper example for their children.  Otherwise you will most likely training your children to be overweight and unhealthy.



  1. It’s a good point, although many over weight people will use this as further “proof” that it’s all genetic and they aren’t responsible for their own eating habits and exercise patterns. Certainly the food choices you make and the style of eating you have stick with you – and I feel incredibly lucky that my mom wouldn’t let me go anywhere near a McDonald’s whilst I was a little boy!

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