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Father’s vitamin D intake affects child’s height, weight

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

May 22 2017. The European Congress on Obesity, held in Porto, Portugal was the site of the presentation of the finding of an association between greater preconception vitamin D intake and increased height and weight in their sons and daughters at the age of 5 years.

The study included data from men, women and children enrolled in Ireland’s Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study. Food frequency questionnaires completed by the parents at the mother’s first prenatal trimester visit were analyzed for vitamin D and calorie intake. The children’s height and weight was ascertained at age 5 and 9 years.

Among 213 father-child pairs, higher vitamin D intake by the fathers prior to the children’s conception was associated with an increase in average height and weight in comparison with children whose fathers consumed less. The association was no longer significant when the children reached 9 years of age. Mothers’ vitamin D intake during the first and second trimester of pregnancy was not associated with their children’s height in this study.

When the children’s time spent outdoors was examined, an association was observed between three or more hours playing outside on the weekends and greater height at 5 years of age, which suggests a benefit for vitamin D on growth and development.

"Paternal vitamin D intake was positively and prospectively associated with offspring's height and weight at 5 years old, independent of maternal characteristics, meriting further investigation of familial dietary pathways," note Dr Cilia Mejia-Lancheros and colleagues at University College Dublin.  "One reason this may occur is that father's nutrition status may somehow influence the health, quality and function of their germ cells, which are involved in reproduction. Thus, maternal nutrition may not be the only key factor in offspring's growth development and health.”

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