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Fish oil supplements for dads could reduce obesity risk in children

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Dads could pop a daily fish oil pill to stop their kids piling on the pounds, according to new research. What a father-to-be eats and drinks has an influence on his child's health, say scientists.And a new study of mice suggests a paternal fish oil supplement may lower the risk of obesity in his children.

The number of young people aged five to 19 who are clinically obese has risen from 31 million in 1990 to 160 million in 2022, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).Piling on the pounds at a young age can increase the risk of serious health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - and may also lead to poor self-esteem and depression, say doctors.

To find out whether dads' diets could influence the health of their children, American researchers fed male mice a high-fat diet with or without added fish oil.They found that the offspring of the males that consumed fish oil had a lower body weight and showed better metabolic health than the offspring of fathers not supplemented with fish oil.

Study leader Dr Latha Ramalingam said: "While further human studies are needed, this discovery opens a new frontier in our understanding of how parents, beyond just genetics, influence their offspring's well-being.""Fish oil, a readily available and safe supplement, could become a powerful weapon in our fight for a healthier next generation." The research team say it is the first study to examine inheritance patterns exclusively in the paternal line.It builds on their previous work, which showed the benefits of fish oil supplementation in mothers for cutting the risk of childhood obesity.

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