Heavier Through the Generations
Reported July 16, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) There may be a reason Americans keep getting heavier from generation to generation.
A new study from Baylor College of Medicine shows when overweight female mice give birth, their offspring is even more overweight a change that may be linked to genetics.
One hypothesis is that maternal obesity before and during pregnancy affects the establishment of body weight regulatory mechanisms in her baby, lead author Dr. Robert A. Waterland, Baylor College of Medicine, was quoted as saying. Maternal obesity could promote obesity in the next generation.
Researchers looked at the impact of maternal obesity in three generations of mice that were genetically identical all had the same genetic tendency to overeat. One group had a standard diet; the others had a diet supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline. This so-called methyl supplemented diet enhances DNA methylation, a chemical reaction that silences genes.
Results show mice on the regular diet became fatter with each generation while those in the supplemented group did not.
Researchers believe DNA methylation may play an important role in the development of the hypothalamus the area of the brain that regulates appetite.
SOURCE: International Journal of Obesity, 2008