New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests that exercise during pregnancy can benefit the unborn child's lifelong health.
Researchers have found that obese women who stay active while pregnant prevent a negative chemical impact on a specific gene in the baby. They say the exercise can help protect a child from chronic diseases like diabetes later in life.
“We all know exercise is one of the best interventions to prevent disease, to fight disease,” said associate professor Zhen Yan. “However, we don't do that enough and so our research hopefully will help society decide what to do, and we also change clinical practice. Hopefully, OB/GYN doctors will recommend to their patients to exercise.”
Their study involved feeding mice a high-fat diet, allowing some of them access to an exercise wheel, and then comparing the long-term health effects in their offspring.
Researchers say their next step is to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate the effects in people.