This study, which is based on two cross sectional surveys' data, aims to establish any effect of parental obesity sex distribution of offspring and to replicate the results that led to the hypothesis that obesity may be associated with sex-linked recessive lethal gene. A representative sample of 4,064 couples living in Renfrew/Paisley, Scotland was surveyed 1972–1976. A total of 2,338 offspring from 1,477 of the couples screened in 1972–1976, living in Paisley, were surveyed in 1996. In this study, males represented 47.7% among the total offspring of the couples screened in 1972–1976. In the first survey there was a higher male proportion of offspring (53%, p < 0.05) from parents who were both obese, yet this was not significant after adjustment for age of parents. Also, there were no other significant differences in sex distribution of offspring according to body mass index, age, or social class of parents. The conditions of the original 1949 study of Angel (1949) (which proposed a sex-linked lethal recessive gene) were simulated by selecting couples with at least one obese daughter. In this subset, (n = 409), obesity in fathers and mothers was associated with 26% of offspring being male compared with 19% of offspring from a non-obese father and obese mother. Finally we conclude that families with an obese father have a higher proportion of male offspring. These results do not support the long-established hypotheses of a sex-linked recessive lethal gene in the etiology of obesity.
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Vol. 83 • No. 4