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Maternal Exercise Benefits Baby Boys More

Update Date: Apr 08, 2015 09:13 PM EDT

Exercising during pregnancy benefits baby boys more than baby girls, according to researchers.

The new rat study revealed that moms who exercised moderately during pregnancy had offspring that were significantly less likely to develop type-2 diabetes.

While both male and female offspring of moms in the exercise group were healthier, the study revealed that males seemed to receive significantly more benefits than females.

"Maternal exercise appeared to decrease the metabolic risk induced by maternal obesity, limiting fat deposits around the abdomen in the offspring and improving their insulin and glucose metabolism during the lactation window," Professor Margaret Morris, Head of Pharmacology from the School of Medical Sciences, said in a news release.

"Maternal exercise significantly improved male offspring's insulin and glucose metabolism whereas female offspring showed only modest improvements," Professor Morris said.

"As to why male offspring seem to benefit more than females from the positive effects of exercise during pregnancy, that's a mystery that we hope to solve with further research," she said.

"While this study was conducted in rats, the findings are a useful addition to the existing body of evidence that points to the importance of both diet and exercise for pregnant women to ensure the future health of their baby," Morris concluded.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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