Updated: Oct 24, 2018
When fathers exercise, children are healthier, even as adults, according to a study at Ohio State University‘s Wexner Medical Center, published in the journal Diabetes and reported on the EurekAlert website.
There is some evidence to suggest that the development of type 2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health is linked to the poor diet of both parents, but this research goes further and investigates how a father‘s exercise regimen could affect his offspring’s metabolic health.
Male mice were fed either a normal or a high fat diet for three weeks, then split into two groups. One group were sedentary and the other exercised freely. After three weeks, they bred, and the offspring ate a normal diet under sedentary conditions for a year.
According to EurekAlert: “adult offspring from sires who exercised had improved glucose metabolism, decreased body weight and a decreased fat mass.”
But what was really interesting was that: “offspring from the dads fed a high-fat diet fared worse, so they were more glucose intolerant. But exercise negated that effect.”
In other words: "When the dad exercised, even on a high-fat diet, we saw improved metabolic health in their adult offspring."
Assuming that the finding translates to humans, this continues to raise interesting questions about the way genetic and environmental information are both expressed in offspring. Previous studies have indicated that the mother's exercise regimen has a beneficial effect on offspring, and the authors have suggested further studies are required to see is there is a multiplicative effect when both parents undertake an exercise regimen.
So if you're planning to conceive, then starting your own exercise regimen could have lasting beneficial effects for your children as well as yourself. And in my experience as an older dad, once you've got kids, you'll need to be as fit as you can just to keep up.
Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/m-swf101518.php retrieved 23/10/2018