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Dad’s Exercise

October 24, 2018

Dads’ exercise habits may affect the health of their offspring.


Could exercising improve the health of a man's future children? (Pixabay)

Could exercising improve the health of a man’s future children? (Pixabay)


Dad’s exercise might make kids healthier. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If a male mouse exercises for a few weeks before fathering offspring, those offspring will grow up to be healthier adult mice. This according to Ohio State researcher Kristin Stanford and her colleagues, writing in the journal Diabetes.

KRISTIN STANFORD (Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center):

So essentially, it improved their glucose metabolism, decreased body weight, and increased insulin sensitivity.


She said that even though exercise doesn’t change the DNA that the father mouse gives to its offspring, it does change other molecules called small RNAs that control how the DNA is expressed. She suspects the same is true in people.


The idea would be if you have 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.


The researchers are now trying to understand how the small RNAs exert this effect. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon