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Father's Health Choices Have Large Impact On Health Of Children, Says Study

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Fathers who eat right and exercise regularly are passing down metabolic health to their children, lowering their chances of developing diabetes and obesity later in life.

According to a study, the lifestyle choices of men before conception can have an impact on their offspring's lifelong health.

"Even a month or so of moderate exercise before conception can have major benefits to his children's metabolic health," stated Kristin Stanford, an assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an author of the study. "Those benefits include lower body weight, increased insulin sensitivity and decreased fat mass."

How A Father's Lifestyle Choices Can Impact Their Children's Future

Experts already know that the lifestyle of an expecting mother, including their exercise habits, can have an influence on the health of her baby. However, whether a father's health can also be passed down to his children is not yet fully understood.

To investigate, the researchers turned to mice. During their experiment, the researchers fed male mice either normal or high-fat diet.

They discovered that the mice who were fed a high-fat diet and were sedentary had offspring that have poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance. Meanwhile, the mice that exercised freely had offspring that showed better metabolic health.

However, for children whose fathers neither exercised regularly nor ate healthily, all hope is not lost.

"We did a full small RNA sequencing and saw several classes of small RNA were changed in response to exercise," added Stanford. "So it canceled out the consequences of the father's poor diet."

The researchers added that further research is needed to determine how and why these changes happen. The findings can aid in the prevention of metabolic problems, including diabetes and obesity, both of which afflict millions of people across the United States.

Benefits Of Exercise

Aside from possibly affecting their offspring's metabolic health, men can reap other benefits from opting for a healthy lifestyle. Josiah Larowe of the American Cancer Society said that eating right and exercising regularly can also significantly lower a person's risk of cancers of all types.

The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 2,700 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, a type of cancer more common among women. Obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer among men and women.

Larowe said that men are also at risk of prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer. He recommended consuming five fruits and vegetables per day.

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