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Parental Diet Affects Offspring’s Health

Today’s articles brought awareness toward the topics of nutritional epigenetics and the emergence of diabetes. In Landecker’s article, an emphasis is placed on the strong correlation between nutrition and gene expression. During the “critical periods”, the food pregnant women take from the outside environment and introduce to the body internally may affect the “the physiology and disease susceptibility of an organism for the rest of its life”. The research conducted assumes “the basic idea is that food conditions early in life … affect patterns of gene expression and thus the way the body works for a lifetime, and perhaps beyond”, generation after generation. I was most intrigued when I read that the responsibility of a child’s health does not solely rely on pregnant women, but rather on men as well. Food’s profound affect on human development requires individuals to monitor what they eat and have parents set healthy examples for their offspring.

Moreover, other sources have conducted research and agree that “one of the most critical periods is early life when epigenetic memories are created that may impact a person’s susceptibility to disease later in life”. Speaking of disease, after reading Kleinfield’s New York Times post on diabetes, I learned that not enough is being done to stall the diabetes epidemic. Although the disease does not to have a cure, the illness could be controlled with constant monitoring and perhaps several lifestyle changes. Because diabetes relates to high sugar levels, I was curious to find out if there has been credible research that may suggest a link between diabetes and violence. It seems that studies show “a real correlation between diabetes and violence”, as I had presumed. Ultimately, this is not to suggest that all diabetics act aggressively, but rather that it helps explain the possible change in behavior. All in all, good diet and exercise can help curb the rate of many disease outbreaks. To sum up, Landecker’s article mentions the expression:  “Genetics may load the cannon, but human behavior pulls the trigger.”

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2 responses to “Parental Diet Affects Offspring’s Health

  1. cmristow

    I think the link between diabetes and violence is very interesting. If diabetes is a product of food choices and epigenetics, then violence by extension also originates with parental food choices that are then heritable. This then has many implications for changing behaviors or for dealing with existing behaviors.

  2. Diabetes is known to cause depression and other psychological hardhsips, therefore this feeling of impotence of being diagnosed with the disease and not being able to cure may be leading to more aggressive and depressive behavior. Children ultimately look to their parents as an example this means that children are inheriting the same poor cultural eating habits which is leading to high rates of diabetes amon children and adolescents.

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