As scientists continue to explore the potential causes of autism, a question has been raised about paternal obesity.
Researchers looked at a large sample of 92,909 children from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The children were between 4 and 13 years old.
Although a mother’s weight was only weakly linked with autism in her child, an obese father was associated with a significant increase in risk.
Children of obese fathers had a 0.27% likelihood of an autistic disorder, compared to 0.14% for children whose fathers were at a normal weight.
The general risk of an obese father having a child with autism is still small, study authors noted, but the association is worth further study.
“It would definitely be beneficial to replicate our analyses in population studies from other countries,” lead researcher Dr. Pal Suren, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, told HealthDay News.