The obesity link stretches from moms to daughters, and fathers to sons, but not necessarily across the gender divide, a new study shows. The study, done by Plymouth’s Peninsula Medical School, looked at 226 families and found that obese moms were 10 times more likely to have obese daughters; fathers, meanwhile, were six times more likely to have obese sons. But children of the opposite sex weren’t affected, leading researchers to suggest the link is behavioural, not genetic: daughters copied their moms’ lifestyles, and sons did the same with their fathers. “It is the reverse of what we have thought and this has fundamental implications for policy,” lead author Prof. Terry Wilkin told the BBC. “We should be targeting the parents and that is not something we have really done to date.” In the study, conducted over a three-year period, 41 per cent of eight-year-old daughters of obese mothers were obese, compared to four per cent of girls with normal-weight mothers, while boys showed no difference. For boys, 18 per cent with obese fathers were obese, while three per cent of those with normal weight fathers were. But there was no difference for girls.