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Situating the Father: Strengthening Interdisciplinary Collaborations between Sociology, History and the Emerging POHaD Paradigm
journal contributionposted on 2022-12-12, 00:12 authored by Christopher MayesChristopher Mayes, Elsher Lawson-Boyd, Maurizio MeloniMaurizio Meloni
(1) Background: Albeit the main focus remains largely on mothers, in recent years Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) scientists, including epigeneticists, have started to examine how a father’s environment affects disease risk in children and argued that more attention needs to be given to father’s health-related behaviors for their influence on offspring at preconception (i.e., sperm health) as well as paternal lifestyle influences over the first 1000 days. This research ushers in a new paternal origins of health and disease (POHaD) paradigm and is considered a welcome equalization to the overemphasis on maternal influences. Epigeneticists are excited by the possibilities of the POHaD paradigm but are also cautious about how to interpret data and avoid biased impression of socio-biological reality. (2) Methods: We review sociological and historical literatures on the intersection of gender, food and diet across different social and historical contexts to enrich our understanding of the father; (3) Results: Sociological and historical research on family food practices and diet show that there are no “fathers” in the abstract or vacuum, but they are differently classed, racialized and exist in socially stratified situations where choices may be constrained or unavailable. This confirms that epigeneticists researching POHaD need to be cautious in interpreting paternal and maternal dietary influences on offspring health; (4) Conclusions: We suggest that interdisciplinary approach to this new paradigm, which draws on sociology, history and public health, can help provide the social and historical context for interpreting and critically understanding paternal lifestyles and influences on offspring health.
Article numberARTN 3884
Publication classificationC1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Science & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicineNutrition & Dieteticsepigeneticshistorysociology of foodgendernutritionDOHaDPOHaDBODY-MASS INDEXTRANSGENERATIONAL INHERITANCEEPIGENETIC INHERITANCEHEALTHY DADSOBESITYFAMILYDIETMARKINGBODIESFOODBehavioral and Social SciencePreventionNutritionFood Sciences not elsewhere classifiedNutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified