According to a recent article in The New York Times, researchers are tracing the origins of being overweight and obese as far back as the pre-pregnancy weight of a child’s mother and father. Beyond simple genetic inheritance, there are twenty-three genes known to increase the risk of becoming obese, and these genes can act very early in development to accelerate weight gain. Additionally, being a child in the 2000s means being surrounded by unwholesome, calorie-dense foods which in turn are not being burned off — due to a more sedentary environment. “There is no going back to a world in which calories are scarce and obtaining them is physically demanding,” wrote Dr. Daniel Belsky, an epidemiologist at Duke University School of Medicine, in an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics. “In the face of the obesity epidemic, eliminating the handful of opportunities for kids to be active during the day is a shame. Sedentary behavior becomes a life pattern.” This is a critical issue, along with the cycle of being overweight that starts with future mothers and fathers. According to Dr. Belsky, there are multiple pathways by which unhealthy levels of weight before and during pregnancy can influence the weight of a child in the future. Another column on the subject of childhood obesity that accompanied the above mentioned article can be read here.