Most parents know that the diet and exercise habits of a pregnant woman impacts the health of her baby, but little is known about how a father’s health choices are passed to his children. A new study finds that lifestyle practices of fathers prior to conception may have a major impact on the lifelong health of their children.
As detailed in the journal, Diabetes, in a new study led by Kristin Stanford, a physiology and cell biology researcher with The Ohio State University College of Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center, and Laurie Goodyear of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.
“Here’s what’s really interesting; offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect,” Stanford said. “When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring.”
Stanford’s team also found that exercise caused changes in the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppress poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring.
“Based on both studies, we’re now determining if both parents exercising has even greater effects to improve metabolism and overall health of offspring. If translated to humans, this would be hugely important for the health of the next generation,” Goodyear said.
The researchers believe the results support the hypothesis that small RNAs could help transmit parental environmental information to the next generation.
“There’s potential for this to translate to humans. We know that in adult men obesity impairs testosterone levels, sperm number and motility, and it decreases the number of live births,” Stanford said. “If we ask someone who’s getting ready to have a child to exercise moderately, even for a month before conception, that could have a strong effect on the health of their sperm and the long-term metabolic health of their children.”
Are you worried about the health of your future children? Make fitness fun NOW – before your kids are born – and they’ll grow up learning that playing is a form of fitness.
I have worked with families and young children for more than 30 years as the founder and owner of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic fitness facility utilizing cutting-edge technology to help children and adults reach their full, physical potential. I know firsthand that the power of play cannot be underestimated.
Fitness should be fun. Would you rather run on a treadmill or play a pick-up game of basketball with your buddies at the park? Would you prefer to do chin-ups or admire the beautiful autumn leaves by taking a hike with your loved one?
Make fitness fun! Your future kids will thank you for spending valuable time with them making lifelong memories and your kids’ health – and your health – will improve while combating obesity. It’s a win-win for your future family!
Are you in need of fitness assistance? Fitness for Health can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun. We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your exact needs and help you reach your unique health goals. And, we offer family workouts so families can become active together. Attend our free, Open House for Prospective Families on Sunday, December 2, from 5pm – 6pm to learn about our athletic training, therapeutic exercise, occupational therapy and physical therapy offerings. Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our programs or call us at 301-231-7138.