(FORBES) — The health of a child has not just to do with the health of the mother during pregnancy. It has to do with a slew of other factors, like how healthy a mother is before pregnancy, how old both parents are at the time of conception, and perhaps most recently, how much a parent weighs.

Even a father can pass his own overweight down to his kids, not just through the habits he teaches his kids or by having an “obesity gene” himself, but also through impermanent changes to his sperm cells that come from being overweight, or losing that weight.

Epigenetic markers – which effectively control how genes are turned on or off – can also be passed down through the sperm, finds a new study, which means that how heavy a man is in the years before he has a child may also affect that child’s risk for being overweight.

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