For men planning to start a family, hitting the gym can help their children with a healthy metabolism. While the diet and exercise habits of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health of her baby, a new study on mice suggests that lifestyle practices of fathers prior to conception too can affect children’s health in adulthood.
The findings explored that paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood. Offsprings from mice who exercised showed improved glucose metabolism decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass in adulthood.
On the other hand, the sedentary male mice that fed on a high-fat diet passed along the traits of poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance. However, exercise was found to mitigate the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the researchers said.
“Offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect. When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring,” added Kristin Stanford, a researcher from the varsity.
Importantly, exercise was found to change the genetic expression of the father’s sperm that suppresses poor dietary effects and transfer to the offspring, the researchers noted in the paper published in the journal Diabetes.