Dr. Zhen Yan and his colleagues have a new paper for the Journal of Applied Physiology, “Exercise during pregnancy mitigates negative effects of parental obesity on metabolic function in adult mouse offspring.”
Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk that the children of obese parents will have metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, later in life. Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes, leading to a healthy birth. However, less is known about whether physical activity during gestation can improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of negative changes in the next generation`s gene expression due to its parents` health or lifestyle.
Researchers performed two parallel arms of a study in which they examined the effects of maternal and paternal obesity on the offspring`s metabolic health and gene expression in skeletal muscle. Adult mice were fed either a high-fat diet to induce obesity or normal rodent chow for six weeks before mating. Some of the mothers (dams) had access to an exercise wheel during pregnancy and others did not.