Exercise can undo effects of maternal obesity

Sydney: Physical activity can help offsprings undo the negative metabolic effects passed on to them by their obese mothers, a study reveals.

An overweight mother can powerfully impact the next generation, altering central appetite circuits in the brain and contributing to increased fat deposits and metabolic disease in their children.

However, a new study on rodents, found that exercise was able to dramatically reverse these impacts, the effect being most pronounced in juveniles who both exercised and consumed a low-fat diet, reported the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease.

"Most, if not all, of the negative consequences of maternal obesity can be reversed through voluntary exercise in the next generation," said study leader Margaret Morris, professor at the University of New South Wales School of Medical Sciences.

Offspring from obese female rats were found to be 12 percent heavier three weeks after birth than the control offspring, according to a university statement.

They also recorded higher fat deposits, plasma lipids, blood pressure and induced glucose intolerance. When the pups also ate a high-fat diet the weight gap increased to 37 percent.

However, when the pups born to obese mothers were allowed to exercise, their fat mass, plasma lipids, blood pressure and insulin resistance were reduced.

Offspring who ate healthy food as well as engaged in exercise reached metabolic levels similar to control rats born to normal weight mothers and raised on standard chow. These findings are based on the doctoral research of Sultana Rajia.