Obesity is a growing concern among people, not just for cosmetic reasons but the increasing health risks as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of 10 people in the U.S. are obese. Obese people are at high risk of getting heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. It is also estimated that around four million people die each year due to obesity.

Various factors can increase the risk of obesity, such as poor diet and high levels of sedentary activities. However, many women who follow healthy diet patterns and exercise still have obesity issues.

A recent study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism explained the reason for their weight loss struggle.

The researchers evaluated 240 children and recorded their body mass index and fat mass during three periods--when they were aged four, aged six to seven, and eight to nine years old.

The study found that mothers who are overweight may share the risk of obesity with their daughters, but not their sons. However, the researchers could not find the same kind of association between fathers and offsprings.

The daughters are more likely to be influenced than the sons if their mothers were obese while pregnant.

Although the research showed that a mother's lifestyle and eating habits have a high level of influence on children during the earlier years, the impact is more for girls than for boys. The girls tend to be overweight between the age of six to nine if the mother was overweight, the study said. Children who were born to overweight parents have a high risk of becoming obese in adulthood.

The study also highlighted the need for early awareness and intervention in mothers who have overweight issues before and during pregnancy.

"These findings suggest that girls born to overweight mothers are at high risk of themselves becoming overweight, which does not seem to be the case in boys," Dr. Rebecca Moon from the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Center at the University of Southampton said.

"This also provides an opportunity to identify young girls who may be at higher risk of developing overweight or obesity, so that we can address this early in childhood," she added.