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UVA study finds that exercising during pregnancy could prevent long-term health issues in children

Zhen Yan and his collaborators studied lab mice and their offspring to develop the research

ROANOKE, Va. – Having a workout routine during pregnancy could help benefit your baby’s health in the long run, according to a University of Virginia School of Medicine study.

While scientists have always known that exercising during pregnancy could better a baby’s health and reduce pregnancy complications and premature delivery, researcher Zhen Yan, an exercise expert at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, wanted to zero in on its possible long-term benefits.

Yan and his collaborators studied lab mice and their offspring to develop the research. One group of mice were fed mouse chow before and during pregnancy, while the other mice had a high-fat, high-calorie diet to cause obesity.

They found that if mothers and fathers had an unhealthy, high-fat diet it could cause metabolic disorders in their offspring and the offspring were also more than likely to have high blood sugar and other metabolic problems in adulthood.

But the researchers found that if the mothers exercised during pregnancy, it could completely block the negative effects of the parents’ obesity on the child.

“The take-home message is that it is not too late to start to exercise if a mother finds herself pregnant. Regular exercise will not only benefit the pregnancy and labor but also the health of the baby for the long run,” said Yan. “This is more exciting evidence that regular exercise is probably the most promising intervention that will help us deter the pandemic of chronic diseases in the aging world, as it can disrupt the vicious cycle of parents-to-child transmission of diseases.”

To read the entire study, click here.


About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.