The risk of accumulating extra pounds is transmitted from mothers to daughters, but not to sons: this is demonstrated by the British study conducted by the University of Southampton and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The researchers measured the body fat and muscle mass of 240 children at three different points in their childhood (4 years, 6-7 years, 8-9 years) and compared these data with those relating to the body composition of their respective parents.
The analysis showed that the girls have a body mass index and fat mass similar to their mother's.
This finding suggests that daughters of obese or overweight women have a higher risk of developing the same condition.
However, the study did not reveal similar correlations between mothers and sons, nor between fathers and sons or daughters.
"These findings demonstrate that girls born to mothers who are obese or have high amounts of body fat may have an increased risk of accumulating excess body fat," said study first author Rebecca J. Moon.
"More studies are needed to understand why this happens, but our findings suggest that approaches to addressing weight and body composition should start very early in life, particularly in girls born to overweight and obese mothers." .