Scientists have worked out which
parent to blame if you are unhappy with your weight or height.
Fathers appear to determine the height of their child while
mothers tend to influence how much body fat they will have,
a study suggests.
The work is ongoing, but researchers from the
Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital say the initial results are
clear - taller dads make longer babies.
How fat the father is does not seem to influence
a child's fatness, however.
In contrast, whether the mother is fat or not
has a major effect on the birth weight of the baby, the team
This is likely to be down to the environment
in the womb - with overweight mums tending to have higher levels
of sugar in their blood.
Research midwife Dr Beatrice Knight stressed
both genetic and environmental factors influence in a child's
The early growth of the baby, both in the womb
and in the first few years of life, may be crucial for the development
of their health in later life, she said.
By identifying the genes involved in this early
growth, she hopes to develop a better understanding of how these
things are linked.
They have been studying about 1,000 families,
measuring the weight and height of the mums, dads and their
babies in their first two years of life.
Dr Knight said: "Obviously one of the biggest
influences on a baby's growth is the size of the mother.
"But we have confirmed that a father's height
also has a direct impact on their baby's growth, with taller
dads having longer and heavier babies."
She added: "Despite the initial reluctance
of many fathers to have bloods taken, we have managed to obtain
a vast amount of high quality information from the men in our
study, for which we are enormously grateful. This has proved
essential in trying to identify the genetic influences on babies'