I have a love/hate relationship with all these studies showing how everything we moms do affects our kids. On one hand, I can't look away -- and on the other hand, why does it seem like we're always doing something wrong? That's why I was stoked to read about new studies that hold dads responsible for some pretty heavy health issues in their children. Yeah, for once! It's not all about moms screwing up!
Apparently a man's behavior and experiences can have an influence on his kids' health looooong before Junior is even a twinkle in his eye. And I'm not talking about damaged sperm (although, that's also kind of a big deal). I'm talking what guys do when they're young could affect their unborn future children's genes.
How young? Before those future fathers even hit puberty. One study showed that a group of men who had eaten a lot in their pre-puberty years had children with higher rates of diabetes (compared with other men in the same area who ate much less). Anything from how much a boy eats, what he eats, how stressful his life is, and even how many pesticides he comes in contact with can affect the genes of his future children. Especially since men continue producing new sperm over the years while women are born with all the eggs we'll ever have.
It's kind of mind-boggling. Who thinks about future generations while the boys and men play flag football in a fungicide-coated lawn? But maybe we should!
So much for letting boys just be boys. Now, as a parent of a boy (oh great, back to mother blaming), I feel more responsibility for making sure his childhood is healthy, that he's emotionally resilient, and that he doesn't come in contact with loads of toxins. As for husbands thinking they're off the hook and can eat whatever they want because you're the baby maker -- they are so wrong about that! And now here's your proof. By the way, the whole article is worth reading, if you get the chance.
Did you know boys and men could have this much effect on their future children?
Image via Michah Sittig/Flickr