Obese Fathers Have Offspring With Higher Body Fat, Says Mouse Study

Obese fathers who ate a high-fat diet were more likely to have offspring that also had a higher level of body fat — even if the youngsters were maintained on a healthy, lower fat diet. The effect was especially noticeable in the male offspring.

That’s the findings of a study done on mice at Ohio University which was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Francisco, California. Lead author of the study, biomedical sciences professor Felicia Nowak, said:

“We’ve identified a number of traits that may affect metabolism and behavior of offspring dependent on the pre-conception diet of the father.”

The news isn’t the best gift a man ever got on Father’s Day, but it seemed to provide new evidence that a father’s diet can have a significant effect on his children’s health.

In the new study, researchers fed the male mice a high-fat diet for 13 weeks before they mated them. The females and the youngsters were fed a standard low-fat diet.

Compared to the control fathers, who also had a low-fat diet, the children of obese fathers had higher body weight at six weeks, six months, and again at 12 months.

As if that wasn’t enough bad news for fathers, a different mouse study published a few days earlier in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggested that those green coffee bean supplements might not be doing much to help you keep the weight off.

According to that Australian study’s authors, people who drink more coffee seem to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in population studies. Supplement marketers have pointed to an ingredient in coffee called chlorogenic acid (CGA) that has taken the diet fad world by storm.


Unfortunately, the new mouse research suggested that the CGA supplements don’t work. In fact, the CGA mice were more likely to develop disorders that would eventually lead to diabetes type 2 in humans.

A magic weight loss supplement still doesn’t exist. Apparently, obese fathers might be advised to drink more coffee and eat less fat.

obese fathers mice
Obese and normal lab rat

[Obese vs. normal rat photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
[top photo obese mouse by EvaStudio via Shutterstock]