Keep encouraging teens to get active. Vigorous exercise is particularly beneficial for lowering their risks of heart disease later in life, according to recent research. Current public health guidelines recommend that children aged 5–18 should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily to reduce current and future heart disease risks.

Researchers wanted to separate and identify the impact of different physical activity intensities, sedentary time, television viewing, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular fitness on cardiovascular disease risk in European adolescents. The scientists used data from 534 adolescents (252 males, 282 females) enrolled in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study.

“Moderate activity has many health benefits, but in specific terms of reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it’s vigorous activity that appears to make a difference,” said lead study author Alan R. Barker, MD, PhD, from the University of Exeter in England. Examples of vigorous activity include cardio, cycling, swimming and tennis. Independently, a link emerged between too much screen time and the risk of developing heart disease later in life.

This study appeared in the Inter­na­tional Journal of Cardiology (2017; doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.11.080).