Overweight father can increase the risk of having smaller baby
The risk of having a baby that is small for gestational age (SGA) is greater when the father is overweight, according to research by the University of Auckland on 2,000 Auckland and Adelaide couples. This effect still was shown even after variables affecting birth size, associated with the mother (e.g., her body weight, smoking), were accounted for. (SGA babies are more likely to be stillborn and to have complications in the newborn period and in later life.) The findings have been published in the journal Obesity. Lead researcher Professor Lesley McCowan, head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University, says, “This is an important finding as it suggests that a dad’s health can also impact on the unborn baby.” The new findings reinforce previous reports showing men who father SGA infants were more likely to have been smaller at birth themselves. This suggests birth size could, in part, be inherited through the paternal germ line. It also provides some support for the theory that low birth weight is linked to later obesity.