Researchers Study Exercise During Pregnancy for Child Cancer Protection

May 27, 2014

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  An area of cancer research at the University of Kentucky is focusing on exercise for mothers during pregnancy to help prevent cancer in their children.  

Second year grad student Alyssa Jarrel is involved in conducting the study and said the research has focused so far on mice, but could very well have implications for humans.  

  "Pregnancy is such a short term intervention and it can have long term benefits for the offspring.  So, we're talking nine months for an intervention for the mom to have lifetime benefits for the child,"  Jarrel said.

Jarrel says the benefits could be seen with moderate-intensity exercise three to four times a week.   She says it appears other health benefits are passed on to the children.

"So, we're seeing hopefully early parameters that will indicate that these children will be at a reduced risk for development of high BMI, reduced risk for cardio vascular disease, and reduced risk for development of type one or type two diabetes," Jarrel said.
Jarrel said the research has focused on skin cancer, but investigators believe it can translate to a reduced risk of cancer in general.  Researchers are seeing reduced inflammation and increased anti-oxidant response of the offspring.    

The researcher said a long-term grant proposal would follow mothers from pre-conception through pregnancy and then monitor the children for several years. ​