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Exercise in childhood cuts obesity and cancer risk


Exercise during childhood and adolescence may thwart some of the damaging effects of a high-fat diet such as obesity, heart disease and cancer, researchers have claimed.

Special role of ‘bone memory’

  • The findings, based on the mouse study, revealed that the bone has the capacity to retain “memory” of its effects long even after the exercise has stopped.
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  • Furthermore,this bone memory then continues to change the way the body metabolises a high-fat diet.
  • “What was remarkable was that these changes lasted long after the rats stopped doing that extra exercise into their mid-life,” said Justin O’Sullivan, a molecular geneticist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
  • “The bone marrow carried a ‘memory’ of the effects of exercise.
  • The rats still got fat, but that early extra exercise basically set them up so that even though
  • they put on weight, they didn’t have the same profile of negative effects that is common with a high fat diet,” he added.
  • Further, the study emphasized that childhood and adolescence are periods of rapid
  • bone growth and exercise during this period may ensure a healthy adulthood.
  • “If you reach optimal bone mass early in life, you’re less likely to suffer from broken bones or
  • other bone-related problems as an adult,” explained Elwyn Firth, Professor from the university’s Liggins Institute.
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  • For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the team compared the bone
  • health and metabolism of rats across different diet and exercise conditions,
  • zeroing in on messenger molecules that signal the activity of genes in bone marrow.
  • Furthermore the results showed that in the rats with high-fat diet and an exercise wheel the early extra
  • physical activity caused inflammation-linked genes to be turned down.
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  • In addition, exercise was also found to alter the way the rats’ bones metabolized energy from food,
  • changing energy pathways that disrupt the body’s response to a high-calorie diet, the researchers said.
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