Parental Obesity: The Pandemic of Intergenerational Physical and Mental Health Carnage

  • Cynthia Myers-Morrison Food Addiction Institute (FAI), USA
Keywords: maternal obesity, pre-natal programming, epigenetic changes, offspring consequences, obesity interventions, Twelve-Step programs, food addiction


A review of the maternal and paternal impact of obesity at conception on the subsequent health of the offspring paints a nightmarish future in terms of suffering and out-of-control healthcare spending. Consequences of parental obesity on the offspring include obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and premature death. Children of obese women tend to have high blood pressure, left ventricular thickening, increased abdominal fat mass, hyperlipidemia with reduced high-density lipoprotein levels, increased aortic root diameter, insulin resistance, and elevated inflammatory markers, which culminate in a threefold greater risk of cardiometabolic complications than in children of normal-weight mothers. Babies are at greater risk of developing asthma, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cognitive delays, inflammation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and the chronic diseases of obesity (such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers, including breast, endometrial, and colon cancer, gall bladder disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis and back pain, gout, cataracts, stress incontinence, and sleep apnea), as well as psychiatric disorders including substance abuse. All parents desire healthy babies, as does society, to avoid the health costs and consequences of our obesity pandemic, but significant personal, societal, public policy, economic, and marketplace interventions will be necessary to avert further devastating impacts. We need to publicize the intergenerational harm caused by obesity, offer support to individuals to help change eating habits and produce a healthier food chain for the nation. Interventions fashioned after the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the adoption of a low carbohydrate abstinence model have proven effective. The time has come to spread the obesity and intergenerational obesity research findings, long accepted by the scientific community but scarcely recognized by the public. We must act before another generation is impacted by lifestyles that have continuously worsened since the 1970s.


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How to Cite
Myers-Morrison, C. (2023). Parental Obesity: The Pandemic of Intergenerational Physical and Mental Health Carnage. International Journal of Integrative Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine, 8, 1 - 19.