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"Does obesity run in the family the same way that diseases do?"


My wife is obese and we are trying to have a child. I have no problem with her obesity but I am worried about our child. Does obesity run in the family the same way that diseases do? My wife's parents are also overweight and I want our child to be healthy.


Obesity is a major worldwide epidemic that is related to an accumulation in body fat over time due to a difference between energy consumption versus expenditure in terms of calories. It is a major healthcare problem due to its association with various other medical problems not limited to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, arthritis, and even some cancers. Genes definitely do play a role in the development of obesity.

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It is believed that the genetic variation combined with the variations in environmental conditions are responsible for the increase in obesity. Studies have found an association between genes seen more commonly in obese patients as compared to people who are not obese. Thus to answer your question, yes, obesity can run in families depending on your clinical situation and on many other factors that science is yet to clearly decipher. In order to determine how to plan for a healthy child, it is important that you and your wife make an appointment with your family physician or gynecologist to determine how to get in good health and how to ensure your child is healthy as well. Your doctors will be able to take a detailed history and provide strategies to avoid any excess weight gain. They will also be able to provide dietary choices and provide physical activity recommendations to help reduce the risk of obesity to you, and to your family.

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