Men are considered to be fitness freaks compared to women. From childhood, young boys get naturally attracted to sports, games and fitness. Exercise and fitness techniques like Yoga, aerobics can help in leading a healthy lifestyle.
In a recent study published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
has revealed that maternal smoking can affect the aerobic fitness of the children, especially the boy child compared to the girl child.
‘Maternal smoking during pregnancy may have a negative impact on the aerobic ﬁtness of the offspring.’
Researchers from the University of Oulu, Finland have conducted a 19-year prospective cohort study which was led by Dr. Maria Hagnäs. They analyzed the fitness records of 500 soldiers who entered the Finnish Military in 2005. This data was gathered from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort Study, a long-running longitudinal study of expectant mothers and their offspring that ran first in 1966 and then in 1986.
The soldiers were analyzed based on these parameters: maternal smoking, pre-pregnancy BMI and Gestational Weight Gain. Aerobic and muscle ﬁtness of the offspring were evaluated by the Cooper test and Muscle Fitness Index (MFI).
The study found that offsprings of smoking mothers ran 2356 meters in 12 minutes while the offsprings of nonsmoking mothers ran 2537 meters. This was evaluated using the Cooper test. The results were independent of the BMIs of both the mother and the offspring, GWG, and the smoking and physical activity of offspring.
Researchers concluded that soldiers of mothers who had smoked more than a cigarette a day during their pregnancy reported having lower aerobic fitness than those whose mothers did not smoke, independent of other factors like the person's smoking habits or body mass index (BMI).
"It's well established that smoking and breathing in second-hand smoke are harmful for both mother and baby. Our study adds to the existing evidence base of the negative and long-standing impacts of maternal smoking. Women must receive advice and support to help them stop smoking during pregnancy, as well as guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight to minimize the risks to their unborn child," said lead author Dr. Maria Hagnäs from the University of Oulu, Finland.
Reference: Hagnäs M, Cederberg H, Jokelainen J, et al. "Association of maternal smoking during pregnancy with aerobic fitness of offspring in young adulthood: a prospective cohort study," BCOG, December 09, 2015, DOI: 10.1111/1471-0528.13789