The study found a consistent relationship between waist circumference in maternal grandmother and grandchild, with no relationship seen in other lineages.
‘The link between grandparent and grandchild which may increase the risk of abdominal obesity was examined. Family history is a significant risk factor for several non-communicable diseases. Conducting family interventions may help to combat obesity risk.’
The association was seen at both time points analyzed: when children were five years old and nine years old. Data came from participants in the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study, which was initiated in 2001 in Ireland.
The results may suggest an intrauterine or environmental effect, with potential public health and clinical implications.
"These findings may have practical implications for family interventions at a time of global challenge in combating obesity," said senior author Dr. Cecily Kelleher, of University College Dublin, in Ireland.
"But they also emphasize the need to understand in scientific terms cross-generation transmission of non-communicable disease risk."