Can exercise during pregnancy reduce the offspring's cancer risk?

If a mother exercises during her pregnancy, will that benefit her children? Researchers at the University of Kentucky have initiated studies to look into the idea: a group from the UK Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences has received a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether maternal exercise during pregnancy can lead to a reduced risk of cancer in offspring.

Using animal models, the research team will test the effects of voluntary exercise during pregnancy on chemical-induced carcinogenesis in the offspring and also look for potential mechanisms for long-lasting stress protection.

The new study is based on a previous small in mice that showed offspring born to exercised dams had improved and enhanced stress protection compared to offspring born to sedentary dams.

The goal, says researcher Kevin Pearson, an assistant professor for the UK Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, is to find relatively simple, short-term interventions for the mother—such as regular exercise during pregnancy—that elicit protection against many in her offspring.

"The benefits of exercise for individuals have been studied extensively—everyone knows that exercise is good for you," Pearson said. "But what if it not only helped you, but also your children? We think there's a high probability that parents will stay committed to a short-term during pregnancy if we can show that it can provide a lifetime of beneficial effects for their sons and daughters."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exercise can reverse negative effects of maternal obesity

Feb 09, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Exercise is the key to overcoming the adverse metabolic effects passed on to offspring by their overweight mothers, with research showing for the first time these effects can be almost completely reversed ...

Exercise in pregnancy reduces size of offspring

Apr 05, 2010

According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise led to a modest reduction in offspring birth weight ...

Recommended for you

Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Healthy women at low risk of cardiovascular disease may be able to take hormone replacement therapy soon after menopause for a short time without harming their hearts, according to a new study.

Low yield for repeat colonoscopy in some patients

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Repeat colonoscopies within 10 years are of little benefit to patients who had no polyps found on adequate examination; however, repeat colonoscopies do benefit patients when the baseline examination was compromised, ...

Cell's recycling center implicated in division decisions

11 hours ago

Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have now identified ...

User comments