UVA research study suggests exercising while pregnant can prevent disease in children

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Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 11:17 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - New research from the University of Virginia suggests exercising while pregnant can save children from life-threatening health issues down the road.

Doctor Zhen Yan, the director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, studied the effects of exercise on pregnant mice, finding that their offspring were less likely to have a disease like diabetes if the mother was healthy and active while pregnant.

Yan’s research suggests exercising while pregnant can block negative health effects of obese parents from being passed down through familial generations.

“This is a disruption of a problem we call a ‘vicious cycle.’ That means when the parents are not healthy, the child will not be healthy, and their child will not be healthy, and this will be transmitted from generation to generation,” Yan said. “So if we can implement exercise intervention, we can break this cycle and hopefully our whole society can become healthy.”

Yan said exercise can also have positive impacts on our immune system, which could protect us from harmful diseases like COVID-19.

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