Fish oil supplements taken by fathers may reduce obesity risk in children, study suggests


New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Fathers who take fish oil supplements may help reduce the risk of obesity in children, say researchers after a study conducted on rats.

The study, conducted by researchers at Syracuse University in the US, suggests a simple change in diet in the form of fish oil supplementation by fathers could help tackle this growing health concern.

The team's previous study demonstrated the benefits of fish oil supplementation in mothers in reducing the risk of childhood obesity.

A new study of nearly 150 mice found that male mice that took fish oil supplements had offspring that had lower body weights and better metabolic health, compared with those that did not take fish oil supplements.

Latha Ramalingam, an assistant professor of nutrition at Syracuse University, said the study “shows how parents, beyond just genetics, influence the well-being of their children.”

“Fish oil, an easily available and safe supplement, can become a powerful weapon in our fight to make the next generation healthier,” he said.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese youth aged 5 to 19 years is set to increase from 31 million in 1990 to 160 million in 2022. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and can also lead to low self-esteem and depression.

Additionally, the study showed that offspring of mice fed a low-fat, healthy diet and fathered by males who received fish oil weighed less at both 7 and 21 days than offspring fathered by males who did not receive fish oil.

“This concept offers significant potential to reshape our strategies to tackle childhood obesity,” Ramalingam said.

These findings will be presented at Nutrition 2024, the American Society for Nutrition's flagship annual meeting, held in Chicago from June 29 to July 2.

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