Conversations with 6 Year Olds - Never Dull

Collateral Damage or Collateral Health in Families

The collateral health effects of obesity in families is becoming ever more clear. It’s been evident for some time that about 60% of the risk of obesity has a genetic basis. That’s a big reason you can spot family trends so often. But another important learning is the value that treatment can have for the whole family.

A new study from Geisinger adds another piece of evidence that bariatric surgery for an adult can lead to weight loss in a child who lives with the adult. This study is the first to use a case-control design, and it is the largest study of this phenomenon published to date: the investigators followed 384 children in the control group and 128 children living with an adult who had bypass surgery.

Overweight boys — but not girls — improved their weight status significantly more if they were living with an adult who had bypass surgery than the controls who did not. It’s worth noting that the entire group of children with obesity in the study experienced an improved weight status, regardless of whether they lived with a bypass patient.

Together with studies of family-based treatment for obesity, this study provides further evidence that prevention and treatment of childhood obesity does not happen in a vacuum. It happens in a family.

“My family is my strength and my weakness.” — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Click here to read the study and here to read more about the family roots of obesity.

Conversations with 6 Year Olds – Never Dull, photograph © Lotus Carroll / flickr

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2 Responses to “Collateral Damage or Collateral Health in Families”

  1. July 09, 2014 at 6:43 pm, Debera Gau said:

    I have seen proof of this within my own household. While my children are adults they & my husband have adapted post operative behaviors ie: not drinking while eating and eating protein first. They have all lost weight and report feeling satisfied longer. Of note my 10 yr old granddaughter also lives in my home and while she is not overweight she too eats slowly, protein first and no sodas or drinking with meals, and she also snacks less and prefers less sugary or sweet treats.

    • July 10, 2014 at 9:08 am, Ted said:

      That’s great to hear, Debera! It’s the embodiment of how actions speak louder than words.