A shocking statistic from 2016 – 45% of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned, makes me wonder how little thought we put into our kids’ future. One would hope that in cases of planned pregnancies, there would be much thought and preparation put into getting ready to conceive and to have a healthy child. Especially considering that cost of raising a kid keeps going up every year and in 2015 it was estimated to be between $174,690 (for low-income families) and $372,210 (for higher-income) – quite an investment no matter how much money a family brings in. To at least keep the medical costs down it may be a good idea to approach conception and pregnancy with much thought, preparation, and intention to try and ensure that you did the best you could to give them strong chance to be healthy, mentally and physically.
Much research is out there regarding maternal health directly impacting the health of a baby. An obese mother will have a child predisposed to being overweight, poor nutrition, formula feeding vs. breastfeeding, exposure to toxins (like cigarettes smoke), even C-section vs vaginal birth, and so much more – all will impact a child’s health. Women are told to avoid alcohol when pregnant, families planning to conceive are asked to restrict certain medications because of its effects on the baby.
Now new research suggesting that a father’s diet and exercise habits (or the lack of) will also affect the baby. The research was done on mice. Offspring of fathers fed a high-fat diet and not allowed to exercise had more body fat and worse glucose tolerance compared to offspring of mice who did exercise – when mice fathers were fed a high-fat diet and allowed to exercise, the offspring had normal glucose tolerance and normal body.
Here are some bullet points from the study. The link to the actual research is below, please feel free to check it out
- Poor paternal diet has emerged as a risk factor for metabolic disease in offspring.
- In this research male mice were fed a high-fat diet – some of them had a running wheel in their cages and others did not. So one group had a chance to exercise and the other group did not. Same high-fat diet for both.
- Parental exercise suppresses the effects of their high-fat diet, reversing the glucose intolerance and percentage of fat mass.
- Also, an interesting fact – high-fat feeding resulted in decreased sperm motility, an effect normalized in males subject to exercise training!
- And finally – “voluntary exercise training of male mice results in pronounced improvements in the metabolic health of their offspring”
In short – a fascinating information showing the effects of something as simple as exercise affecting and changing the health of our children.
To our kids’ health!