New study finds connection between father's exercise habits and - FOX34 Lubbock

New study finds connection between father's exercise habits and child's health

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A new study, conducted by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, found it is not just the soon-to-be mothers who need to pay attention to their exercise and diet habits prior to the birth of their child, but also the fathers. 

As a father of two sons, Matthew Hunt said he wants to set an example for his children of what it means to have active, healthy habits. 

"We want it to just be natural for them. We don't want it to be a chore. I want them to just want to go outside, want to be active, and enjoy life to its fullest," Hunt said.

Hunt said the first step is to teach his children that fun and exercise activities can go hand-in-hand. 

"It's been really important for us to have them eating well and just getting them away from the screens and technology. Swimming, we like to play at this park a lot, fishing, walking through the creek," Hunt said.

In fact, Hunt's healthy lifestyle may have given his two sons a genetic head start.

The new study found if a father establishes an exercise routine prior to conception, regardless of diet, it can have a major impact on the future health of his child. 

"We work with these dads on a high-fat diet and their offspring behaved worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. However, exercise actually negated that effect," Kristin Stanford, with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said. 

Stanford said the study her team conducted found, through testing male mice, that exercise improved the metabolic health of male and female offspring. 

In these tests, male mice were fed a high-fat diet, which passed along negative traits such as obesity, but after examining RNA molecules, it showed that exercise, even at a moderate level, completely reversed this effect. 

"This would suggest if you're a man getting ready to have a baby, it doesn't really matter what you eat because as long as you're exercising, you're still going to see improved health in your offspring," Stanford said.

She added establishing this level of activity can have positive lifelong implications on the child's health and exercise habits. 

"The idea would be if you had a dad who wants to have a child, if they could exercise maybe just a month prior to conception, that would have a really dramatic effect on their child's life," Stanford said.

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