It is kind of convenient at times to be able to blame our bad health on our parents. Stories of this kind generally take the form of inheriting poor genes from our parents: my dad carried too much weight around his waist, so if I do, well then it is not really my fault, it is just genetics.

Researchers, however, are only just starting to unravel a whole other layer of complexity about how our parents influence our health.

This type of research really started to shape in the early 1990s, when David Barker and his co-authors put forward a fetal origins theory for cardiovascular disease. From their studies, babies who were born underweight, specifically babies born who are underweight due to under nutrition in late gestational stages, were shown to be a much higher risk of disease later in life. The diseases most often associated with higher rates later in life are cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even diabetes. This is theory is generally known as the Barker hypothesis.

It now looks like higher weight babies are also at risk of more chronic disease later in life, but this time it is breast cancer. A recently published review of studies linking birth weight and size with breast cancer risk has shown that children born on the upper end of the weight distribution are roughly 10% more likely to develop breast cancer later in life.

Parents are soon going to have to start signing waivers to prevent their kids from suing them later in life…

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