Male smokers consign their children to obesity

Smoking before the age of 11 is a precursor to having fatter children, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Bristol.

Scientists discovered that smoking from such a young age can 'scar' an individual's DNA and bring about huge changes which could impact the rest of their lives. One such issue may not even be felt by the individual but instead be passed on to their children: obesity.

The researchers found that any young males who smoke from the age of 11 or younger may well be consigning any future children to a lifetime of obesity. This was evidenced when researchers discovered that sons of fathers who smoked when they were children themselves were "significantly" fatter than their peers.

Researchers claim their discovery illustrates that smoking from a young age can bring about significant metabolic changes that can not only last a lifetime, but even stretch across generations, notes.

One small positive to come out of this research was that the number of people who smoke from such a young age is relatively small. The University had a test group of nearly 10,000 fathers, of which 5,376 said they had smoked at one point in their life. Just 166 of these, however, said they started the habit from age 11 or younger.

Commenting on the findings, study leader Professor Marcus Pembrey told "This discovery of trans-generational effects has big implications for research into the current rise in obesity and the evaluation of preventative measures.

"It is no longer acceptable to just study lifestyle factors in one generation."