Dads, listen up. If you want to raise healthy children, you might want to begin losing the dad bod.
In a new interesting study conducted by researchers from Denmark, it's been revealed that obese dads may produce overweight and obese children through certain gene changes in the sperm.
For the study, they analyzed the health profile and spermatozoa of 23 men, of which ten were considered obese or whose body mass index (BMI) was 31.8 and above. The average age for lean men were 36 while obese men were around 34.
When they analyzed the sperm cell gene regions that are related to control appetite, they found out that certain biomarkers were completely different between the two groups. However, these changes were not based on the underlying DNA. Rather they were described as epigenetic, which means the genes change according to their response to environmental factors including but not limited to sedentary lifestyle and diet. These types of genetic expressions, however, can be transferred to the child.
This is corroborated by a related study by the team among men who had undergone bariatric surgery, a weight loss surgical procedure that aims to reduce food intake and thus the amount of calories consumed. More 4,500 changes to the DNA had been noted on their sperm cells at least a year after surgery.
In a 2012 Australian study, Nicole Palmer and colleagues suggested that obesity can have a direct impact on male fertility. It can reduce the quality of the sperm and cause alterations in both the molecular and physical structure of the germ cells produced by the testes, which will eventually develop into mature sperm cells that reunite with an egg cell during fertilization.
The recent research didn't provide any recommendations for obese men, although it's safe to say adopting a healthier lifestyle can help improve the outcomes of healthy children in the future. Instead, the team wants to further explore on the subject including learning the differences between discarded embryos fertilized by men of different weights.