Why Men Should Ditch the Dad Bod

Guys—your unhealthy habits can impact your future children.

Why Men Should Ditch the Dad Bod

When Matt Damon prepared to star as Gardner Lodge in the George Clooney–directed movie Suburbicon, he destroyed his Jason Borne washboard abs and showed up on set weighing 200 pounds. He said he wanted a “Dad Bod.”

Unfortunately, the Dad Bod, defined by the Urban Dictionary as more mudslide than mountain, is ever-more common. Today, over 27 percent of men ages 20 to 39 are obese and many more are overweight—and 26 percent of guys 18 to 44 get no physical activity at all, while most fall short of what’s recommended. Not good for guys and not good for their future children.

Research published in the journal Diabetes found that the athleticism of a dad may have an impact on the lifelong health and metabolism of his offspring. For the study, the researchers put future dad-mice on either a high-fat or low-fat diet and let some of the mice from the two diet groups get regular exercise. After three weeks, they mated the future dad-mice with normal mom-mice. The researchers then fed the dad-mice’s offspring normal diets and monitored their health for a year. The results: dad-mice that exercised before becoming fathers (regardless of their diet) had changes in their sperm’s DNA that boosted their offsprings’ metabolic health, so the kids had more efficient glucose metabolism and a lower body weight and BMI.

Mice are a pretty good model for human biology! So don’t slide into mudslide-shape or your future kids may end up with a roster of health woes they were born (or Borne) with!

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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