Mice which mothers exercised when pregnant are less likely to gain weight when they were fed a high-fat diet; the benefits were found regardless of whether the mothers were obese or not, according to a study to be presented at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting.
“Based on our findings, we recommend that women –whether or not they are obese or have diabetes– exercise regularly during pregnancy because it benefits their children’s metabolic health,” said Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student at the Washington State University who conducted the study.
The researchers studied and compared the offspring born to mice that performed 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every morning during pregnancy with offspring to mice that did not performed exercise. The results showed that the group of exercising moms had increases levels of proteins associated with brown adipose tissue at weaning compared to the control group, and higher body temperatures than the other group. The researchers said this means their brown fat was more efficient (or had higher thermogenic function), which prevents obesity and metabolic problems.
Then, after weaning, the mice were given a high-fat diet for 8 weeks, the group of exercised moms showed, apart from decreases weight gain, fewer symptoms of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease.
“Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function,” said Son.
Now the team of scientists of Whashington State is planning to study the biological reasons behind the improved metabolism of mice which mothers exercised during their pregnancy.