Body fat linked to your grandparents’ smoking habits, new study reveals

New research suggests that women’s whose paternal grandfathers or great-grandfathers started smoking before the age of 13 are likely to have more body fat.

The reason children become overweight may have more to do with the smoking habits of their grandparents than their diets or amount of exercise they do, according to new groundbreaking research published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

Smokey Ties

The research is based on the lives of some 14,000 individuals born in 1991 and 1992 in the UK. Known as the Children of the 90s study, researchers have been studying the lives of these participants as well as their parents for the past 30 years.

As the project marks its 30th anniversary, data revealed that women whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers took to smoking cigarettes before the age of 13, are likely to have more body fat.

The findings go to support a hitherto unproven theory that human exposure to substances can be passed onto descendants. However, the team of researchers who published the paper say more work needs to be done in this area.

Jean Golding is the lead author and founder of the Children of the 90s study. She said in a press release:

If these associations are confirmed in other datasets, this will be one of the first human studies with data suitable to start to look at these associations and to begin to unpick the origin of potentially important cross-generation relationships. There is much more to explore.

Don’t Blame It On The Diet

According to the researchers, this particular study is quite different because it allows them to analyse the lives of the children being born to the original cohort.

This makes it possible for scientists to gather information on all three generations, allowing them to research some social and health issues for the first time. Golding said:

This research provides us with two important results. First, that before puberty, exposure of a boy to particular substances might have an effect on generations that follow him.

The second useful result of the finding, according to Golding is that:

Second, one of the reasons why children become overweight may be not so much to do with their current diet and exercise, rather than the lifestyle of their ancestors or the persistence of associated factors over the years.
Lockdown has had a positive effect on some people's mental health, study reveals Lockdown has had a positive effect on some people's mental health, study reveals