Inactive Kids More Likely to Face Heart Disease
The dangers of inactivity in children just became more grave. A study published in Dynamic Medicine (2008; 7 ) has found that sedentary kids, compared with their active counterparts, are five times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome by their teenage years. For kids with “low aerobic fitness,” the risk is six times as high.The authors analyzed data collected from 389 North Carolina adolescents aged 7–10 years. Qualified professionals measured the subjects’ body mass index, percent body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. Levels of physical activity were either self-reported or estimated through use of a “multistage” submaximal cycle ergometry test. The researchers then followed up with participants 7 years after the initial results were gathered. Eighteen from the original group presented with at least three characteristics of metabolic syndrome; these teenagers reported higher body fat, body mass, cholesterol and systolic blood pressure levels than the other participants. Further, those with the disease characteristics had scored low physical activity ratings at the outset. “We found that adolescents with the [disease] were five times more likely to have low physical activity levels as children,” stated the authors. “Furthermore, our mean physical activity data suggest that in those youth who have the [disease], low physical activity levels can persist from childhood into adolescence.” The authors concluded that increasing physical activity among youth could reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome later in life.
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