Researchers investigated whether running could make pregnant mice “protect” their offspring from the negative effects caused by the mother or father’s high-fat diet.
The study first observed what would happen with the offspring if a parent had a high-fat diet and “normal” food. Next, obese mice were made to mate with mice with average weight so that the researchers could see the results in the offspring of parents with mixed diets.
Then, some mothers, both obese and normal weight, were made to go on running wheels while pregnant, up to seven miles a week during the early part of the gestation period.
Upon studying the health of the offspring as adults, many developed metabolic problems, especially in the males whose mothers were obese and in both males and females when just their dads were obese. Mice born to obese mothers showed irregularities with the genes responsible for regulating inflammation.
The offspring of the mice that did the running wheel exercise did not exhibit any metabolic problems. In fact, the study’s results showed exercise significantly reduced an offspring’s health risks like diabetes.
“Maternal or paternal obesity causes metabolic impairment in adult offspring in mice,” the study read. “Maternal exercise during gestation can completely mitigate metabolic impairment.”
The study did not define an unhealthy lifestyle. It did not determine the ideal timing and the frequency or type of exercise to mitigate the metabolic issues.
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But we know pregnancy exercise is beneficial for the mom-to-be. This study shows that positive impact can extend to the baby and not just when he’s in the womb but until he grows up. Now that’s fantastic motivation to get moving, right?