Exercise and a healthy diet In the early stages of life, they reduce anxiety in adulthood and cause an increase in muscle and brain mass. According to a study from University of California-Riverside (United States) performed in mice.
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Conversely, the researchers They warn that when mice were fed diets high in fat and sugar, they not only gained weight, but became adults who preferred unhealthy foods.
Thus, although diet and exercise are consistently recommended as ways to promote health, this study is the first to examine the combined and long-lasting effects of both factors when experienced early in life.
The process carried out by the experts was to study the two factors together
“Every time you go to the doctor concerned about your weight, almost without fail, they recommend you exercise and eat less,” said the study leader and PhD student in physiology at the UCR. Marcell Cadney. “So it is surprising that most studies only looked at diet or exercise separately. In this study, we wanted to include both,” he adds.
These results have recently been published in the journal “Physiology and Behavior”. To obtain them, the researchers divided the young mice into four groups: those that had access to exercise, those that did not, those that were fed a standard, healthy diet, and those that followed a Western diet (rich in fats and sugars). ).
The mice began to follow their diets immediately after weaning and continued with them for three weeks. All this until they reached sexual maturity. After an additional eight weeks of ‘washing’, during which all mice were housed without wheels and on a healthy diet, the researchers performed behavioral analyzes, measuring aerobic capacity and levels of several different hormones.
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This study states that physical exercise in childhood increases leptin levels
One of them, leptin, is produced by fat cells. Helps control body weight by increasing energy expenditure and signaling that less food is needed. Thus, exercise in childhood increased leptin levels in adulthood, as well as fat mass in adult mice, regardless of the diet they followed.
Previously, the research team had found that eating too much fat and sugar in childhood could disrupt the microbiome for life, even if you eat healthier later. In the future, the team plans to investigate whether fat or sugar are more responsible for the negative effects they measured in mice fed Western diets.
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Together, both studies offer critical opportunities to intervene in childhood habits. “Our findings may be relevant to understanding the potential effects of activity reductions and dietary changes associated with obesity,” said the university’s evolutionary physiologist, Theodore Garland.
In other words, starting with health in the first years of life is extremely important, and interventions can be even more critical after the pandemic. “During the Covid-19 closures, especially in the first months, children did very little exercise. For many who did not have access to a park or a playground, school was their only source of physical activity,” he recalled Cadney.