The Truth About Mothers and their Daughters’ Resemblance on BMI Charts

Is it true that mothers and their daughters’ resemblance on BMI is a sure thing? It’s easy to assume that a daughter might take after her mother’s eating habits and have a similar BMI as her mother, for many reasons. But they might not be the reasons you’d think. But first, let’s make it clear what BMI is.

BMI or body mass index is nothing more than the measure of a person’s weight in relation to her height. A person’s weight in kilograms is divided by a person’s height in meters, squared (which is simply a person’s height times itself-if I’m 1.5 meters tall, I would take 1.5 times 1.5). The resulting number is her BMI. A normal BMI is anything from 18.5 to 24.5, and 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, with anything above that considered obese. A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight. BMI is a good general measurement for most people, although very muscular people usually measure as overweight or obese because BMI doesn’t distinguish between muscle weight and fat weight.

So, back to mothers and their daughters’ resemblance on BMI, does it guarantee that a daughter will be overweight if her mother has a high BMI? Will a normal weight mother raise a normal weight daughter? Will the daughter be underweight if the mother is too skinny? While nothing is certain 100% of the time, there are some factors that push those answers more toward a yes than a no.

Genetics do play a part in a person’s tendency toward staying thin or gaining weight. Hereditary factors like body type are impossible to change. Tendency toward a slow metabolism can be boosted by exercise, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, but genetics will help determine how easy or difficult keeping a high metabolism may be for a daughter.

The environment is a huge factor. When a mother is overweight, for example, and she generally cooks for the family, the family eat what she eats to a large degree. So it’s easy to see why mothers and their daughters’ resemblance on BMI is often very similar. Living with a person, especially someone with the influence a mother has on a daughter, also tends to shape a person’s attitudes. So if the mother is very active, eats healthy and stays physically fit, it’s more likely than a child, especially a daughter, will do the same. Conversely, a mother who is overweight, rarely gets exercise and doesn’t seem overly concerned with weight loss or health is likely to bring up her daughter with the same outlook. In both cases, it’s no surprise that their BMIs might be similar.

So not only do the attitudes about food and fitness filter down from mothers to daughters, the type of food eaten, and even the amount of food eaten, can filter down, too. Mothers and their daughters’ resemblance on BMI charts is no coincidence, and only shows the need for families to be aware of their health and fitness even when children are small.

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