Thursday, April 10, 2014

Overweight Dads Ups Child's Autism Risk

The objective of a study in the April issue of Pediatrics was to investigate the associations among maternal prepregnancy BMI, paternal BMI, and the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children.

Maternal obesity was only weakly associated with ASD risk, whereas paternal obesity was associated with an increased risk of autistic disorder and Asperger disorder. The risk of autistic disorder was 0.27% in children of obese fathers and 0.14% in children of fathers with normal weight. For Asperger disorder, the risk was 0.38% in children of obese fathers and 0.18% in children of normal-weight fathers.

The researchers concluded that paternal obesity is an independent risk factor for ASDs in children. The associations should be investigated further in genetic and epigenetic studies.

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