For another eight weeks, all four groups were housed with a healthy diet and no exercise access. Then, researchers analyzed behavior, measured the mice’s aerobic capacity and their different hormone levels. One hormone, leptin, is created by fat cells and primarily helps the body control its weight. Exercise in early life led to a boost in leptin levels in adult mice. It also led to an increase in adult fat mass, no matter what diet mice consumed.
Past studies have shown that even if people eat healthier later, consuming an abundance of sugar and fat in childhood can change the microbiome forever. Researchers of the current study plan to look into whether sugar or fat is more responsible for the negative impacts they found in mice that consumed a Western diet.
“Our findings may be relevant for understanding the potential effects of activity reductions and dietary changes associated with obesity,” said UCR evolutionary physiologist Theodore Garland.