Fathers need to get fit to keep kids in shape

If you're pregnant, you've hopefully been doing a lot to keep yourself in shape. This means eating right, moderately exercising and following all of your doctor's orders. If you're trying to get pregnant, then the same rules apply, because the healthier you are, the easier it is to get pregnant. Along with working out and consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, if you're trying to get pregnant, you may want to encourage your partner to get in shape as well. 

According to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University Medical Center, a father's obesity may lead to health issues in children

Heavier father, unhealthy kids
Adelheid Soubry, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate at Duke Cancer Institute and the study's lead author, explained that the scientists set out to determine the influence that father's obesity prior to conception could have on his offspring. In particular, they wanted to discover an association between obesity in parents and changes to DNA methylation in children, which regulates the activities of certain genes and may impact the risk of some diseases. 

After examining several families and the DNA of their newborn babies, the researchers determined that children born to overweight fathers were more likely to have changes in DNA methylation than those born to normal-weight dads. This may increase the babies' risks of experiencing diseases like cancer. 

"This study is an important start in looking at the effects of environmental exposure on children, not only through the mother but also through the father," said Soubry in a statement.

Get healthy before you get pregnant 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that a healthy pregnancy starts before you even conceive. At least three months before trying to make a baby, you should stop smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. You should also work to make sure that any medical conditions you have are being properly controlled. This includes diabetes, asthma and obesity, all of which may jeopardize your pregnancy if they are not taken care of. 

You shouldn't wait until after you are pregnant to talk to your healthcare provider. Before you attempt to conceive, visit your doctor and ask him or her all of the things that you should be doing to prepare your body for having a healthy baby. 

Did you talk to your doctor before conceiving? What steps did you take to keep yourself healthy?