In the world of kid making, people often talk a lot about what moms should eat and their lifestyle during pregnancy. But some compelling research from McGill University says dads’ diets before conception is just as important to the health of his offspring.

The study looked at a vitamin called folate, which is important for preventing problems like miscarriages and birth defects. Usually, we hear about future moms needing enough folate, but this study says dads’ folate levels are just as crucial. Dads who eat a lot a westernized diet packed with packaged foods & junk and are overweight tend to not process folate – and as the study suggests this can hurt the baby.

Researchers did their tests using mice. They compared baby mice whose dads didn’t get enough folate to those whose dads ate enough. The babies whose dads lacked folate had way more birth defects, like messed-up bones in their heads and spines.

Dr. Romain Lambrot from McGill explains that what a future dad eats can actually change the epigenome in their sperm. This epigenome acts like a switchboard for genes, turning them on or off. So, if a dad eats poorly and is in even worse shape it will mess with his kids’ gene, which can cause problems down the road.

Dr. Kimmins, who led the study, says dads need to think about their diet, smoking, and how they live before trying to have kids. She warns that what dads do now could stick with their kids for a long time, affecting their health and how their bodies work.

Researchers want to take the next step and work with health providers to help couples thinking of conceiving to see how dads’ diets and weight affect their children’s health. This could lead to new advice for couples who want to have healthy babies.

In short, this study changes how we think about making babies healthy. It shows that dads’ choices matter just as much as moms’ when it comes to having kids. So, dads, take care of yourselves—it’s not just about you anymore, but also about your future children’s health and well-being.