Fathers-to-be can lower their offspring’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by exercising before conception

Exercise is beneficial for anyone, regardless of your age. However, according to a study, men who exercise before conception can help lower their children’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

The study, which was published in the journal Diabetes, was a collaborative effort between researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Ohio State University College of Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center.

Exercise, men’s health, and conception

Various lifestyle factors are associated with Type 2 diabetes, and the results of the study imply that the physical activity levels of a baby’s father before conception could be one of them. The researchers believe that fathers can help “determine the role of obesity and metabolic programming of their future children well into adulthood.”

For the study, researchers conducted an experiment on mice models. The subjects were divided into two groups, with one group being fed a high-calorie diet for three weeks. The other group of mice was given a regular diet. Both groups of mice included subjects that were sedentary and some that exercised.

The mice bred after three weeks and their offspring were fed a regular diet under sedentary conditions for 12 months. The results of the study show that young mice from the more physically-active mice had “greater glucose metabolism, lower body weight, and lower fat mass.”

Dr. Laurie Goodyear, the lead author of the study, said that the findings highlight the importance of men’s fitness, especially for soon-to-be-fathers. He concluded, “When we put the males on a high-fat diet, it had a terrible effect on the offspring; but what was surprising was that situation was completely reversed when the male added in exercise. So, translated to humans, even if dad isn’t eating really well, he can still affect his offspring positively by exercising. This also will dramatically decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for the offspring.” (Related: Study confirms a very low-carb diet can help manage Type 1 diabetes.)

The researchers also found that physical activity could have a small impact on the genetic expression of the father’s sperm, which was associated with improvements in the metabolism of their offspring. The scientists will continue studying this link to determine if the results can support the theory of paternal environmental information being passed to the next generation.

Tips for preventing Type 2 diabetes in children

The suggestions below can help your children stay healthy and lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Ask your kids what their favorite foods are, and think of creative ways to make them healthier.
  • Buy the groceries together, and always shop on a full stomach so you’re not tempted to buy junk food.
  • Eat your food at the dining table, and don’t let your kids eat in front of the TV or computer.
  • Encourage kids to drink more water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in daily meals.
  • Let your kids have 60 minutes of physical activity daily. They can do it in several 10- or 15-minute sessions or all at once.
  • Let your kids help you cook and make healthier meals together.
  • Limit their screen time to only two hours a day.
  • Make physical activity more fun and let your kids try new games and activities.
  • Plan active outings, such as biking or hiking.
  • Serve small portions and let kids ask for seconds.
  • Take lots of walks together.

Visit DiabetesScienceNews.com to read more articles with tips on how to lower your risk of developing diabetes.

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