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'Junk food loving dads giving diabetes to children'

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 17:56 IST

'Junk food loving dads giving diabetes to kids'



Prospective fathers please take note-- men who eat junk food could be passing on diabetes to their to-be-born children, a new study has claimed.

Using a mouse model, a team of Australian and American researchers found that those who hooked onto junk food may be sowing the seeds of obesity among their future generation.

For their study the researchers fed young male rats a diet high in fat, mated them with healthy females and tracked the health of their female pups.

They found that the "daughters" developed diabetes before they reached puberty, with blood glucose concentrations double those of young born to other males.  

Image: US President Barack Obama eats a cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

'Fatty food could cause subtle changes to DNA '

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The junk-food rats' daughters also produced half the amount of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and is key to the development of diabetes, the Daily Mail reported.

Although the experiment included only female pups, it is thought that male offspring would be similarly affected.

It is thought the fatty food caused subtle changes to DNA in the rats' sperm, causing problems in the metabolism of the next generation.

Study researcher Margaret Morris of the University of New South Wales in Sydney said: "If similar effects apply in humans, it underlines the need for men to maintain a healthy diet and body weight. "This is not only for their own health, but for that of the next generation."

Image: A child eats a hot dog in Providence, Rhode Island
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters
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'Six per cent of the world population could have Diabetes by 2010'

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Commenting on the new study, published in the journal Nature, Dr Iain Frame of British charity Diabetes UK said "translating" the study to humans could help improve health outcomes in people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"We will watch this promising area of research closely," he added.

According to World Diabetes Foundation, an estimated 285 million people, corresponding to 6.4 per cent of the world's adult population, will live with diabetes in 2010.

It is expected that by 2030 about 438 million will be affected by the lifestyle disease, which usually comes on in middle age and greatly raises the odds of heart disease, stroke and conditions which lead to limb amputation. It can also shorten lifespan by ten years.

Image: Pete Davekos takes part in the World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto
Photographs: Mark Blinch/Reuters
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