Health challenges of obese fathers and their kids - TheHealthSite thumbnail

Health challenges of obese fathers and their kids – TheHealthSite

It is a well-known fact that a mother’s health affects her child’s well-being. However, do you know that a father’s health condition can also have significant effects on his kids? Yes, you read it right. According to a recent study published in the journalBMC Medicine,father’s lifestyle could be passed onto their kids by an epigenetic mechanism. This means that if you are obese, your child can also have those extra kilos. Moreover, there are other health challenges that kids of overweight dads face, suggests research. Several studies have shown that kids with obese fathers exhibit developmental delay. However, your obesity doesn’t only put your child’s health at stake. It can do much more harm to your body than you can think of. Obesity can take a toll on your physical functionality and increase your vulnerability towards life-threatening conditions in the long run.

Notably, obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year due to this condition, says WHO. According to the definition of this world body, a person with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 is obese. BMI is a measurement derived from your weight and height. It estimates your body composition and tells you whether you are underweight, overweight or have an ideal weight.

Certain risk factors including genetics, age, and medical problems can also increase your risk of being obese. Here, we tell you about some of the health conditions that you may fall prey to if you are obese.

Cardiovascular disease

Obesity is a major risk factor behind the onset of cardiovascular diseases, says WHO. Being overweight puts you at the risk of developing atherosclerosis, observes a study published in theJournal of Diabetes Research.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol builds up in your blood, vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients from heart to the rest of the body. This blocks the blood flow to your organs and tissues forcing your heart to put pressure on the vessels to pump blood. This results in hypertension. Also, the plaque accumulated in the arteries can burst and cause blood clot, putting you at the risk of having heart attack. In case the clot is in the brain, you may experience a stroke. Symptoms of atherosclerosis depend on the location of the arteries affected. In case of cholesterol accumulation in heart arteries, you will experience chest pain. If it has affected arteries in the brain, you may feel weakness in your arms or legs, slurred speech, loss of vision, etc.

Respiratory disorders

According to a study published in theInternational Journal of General Medicine, “Obesity decreases lung volumes, which are reflected by a more restrictive ventilatory pattern.” It can lead to ineffectiveness of the respiratory muscles and strength, causing respiratory overload. If you are obese, cholesterol or fats may get deposited on the walls of the lungs restricting oxygen flow. Also, it may cause inflammation that can result into asthma. People who are overweight are at higher risk for respiratory infections. Asthma is three to four times more common among people with obesity than those without the condition.

Sleep apnea

It is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops (briefly) and starts again. Fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct breathing and reduce oxygen flow in the brain and the rest of the body, causing obstructive sleep apnea.

There are basically two types of sleep apnea namely obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. The former occurs due to the blockage of airways whereas the latter happens when your brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to reduced respiratory control centre. Sleep apnoea is characterized by loud snoring, sore throat, morning headache, irritability, insomnia, etc. It may cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease and stroke more likely. Apart from obesity, certain other risk factors of this condition are sex (male), old age, having large tonsils, family history, nasal obstruction, etc. If not treated on time, it may also cause metabolic syndrome, liver problem, high blood pressure, etc.


There are various hypotheses about how obesity leads to diabetes. One of them states that accumulation of fats in the body stresses the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) present in cells. It is a type of organelle that is responsible for the synthesis of proteins and lipids. When ER has a lot of lipids to process, it sends signals to the cells to stop responding to insulin. This leads to insulin resistance that causes concentration of sugar in the blood, a sign of diabetes.  According to a study published in the journalDiabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy,accumulation of adipose tissue affects metabolism by secreting hormones, glycerol, and other substances like NEFAs, a known factor to cause insulin resistance. In obese individuals, the secretion of these substances will be increased.


Fat does more than just hanging around inconvenient places, making it tough for you to pull on your favourite clothes. Obesity can destroy your joints too. Excess fat causes destruction of cartilage and joints in a non-mechanical way.

It keeps on gradually releasing inflammation-causing proteins and other biochemicals like tumour necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1. These proteins lead to joint inflammation, making them vulnerable to developing osteoarthritis. It is a type of arthritis characterized by symptoms like pain, tenderness, stiffness in joints, loss of flexibility, swelling in bones, grating sensation, etc.

Osteoarthritis can potentially worsen with time and result in chronic pain and difficulty in performing daily tasks. Apart from obesity, factors like older age, genetics, joint injuries, bone deformities, metabolic disease, etc. can also increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis.

Published: June 25, 2019 4:21 pm | Updated:June 25, 2019 4:25 pm

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