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A new study shows that inactivity in childhood may increase the risk of heart disease later in life.
The time children spend idle may be associated with an increase in left ventricular mass of the heart, particularly in girls, according to the researchers. Research to be presented this week At the ESC Congress of the European Society of Cardiology 2023 in Amsterdam.
“Heart enlargement is an objective indicator that the heart may be fatigued in response to a stressful situation,” said lead study author Dr. Andrew Agbagi, lead researcher on the study. Orphite-Child A research group at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Eastern Finland.
The data was collected from the Children of the Nineties Study, one of the world’s largest cohort studies measuring lifestyle. The research showed that the longitudinal study included 766 children and looked at data between the ages of 11 and 24 years.
The children wore the activity monitors for one week at several ages throughout the study period.
At 11 years old, the children were sitting for about six hours a day. In adolescence four years later, that rose to nearly eight hours a day and then to nearly nine hours by the end of the research period, according to the poster.
It is important to note that the increase in sitting time was ‘stolen’ from the time spent on light-intensity physical activity “It was reduced from 6 hours per day in childhood to 3 hours per day in adulthood,” Agbagi said in an email.
More sedentary time was associated with increased left ventricular mass in the girls who were followed in the study, according to the new research. A higher left ventricular mass is a strong predictor of cardiac events in adulthood.
“Because it is rare for children to have heart attacks, left ventricular hypertrophy, or an enlarged heart, has been used as early signs of heart damage,” he said.
Agbagi added that the data only showed the association between girls in this study, but further research with a larger cohort may show a difference between boys and girls.
“What’s most important about this study is that it highlights the damage that sedentary behavior does to our health, especially heart health,” said Dr. Nika Goldberg, medical director of Atria Hospital in New York City and clinical assistant professor of medicine in New York City. Grossman University School of Medicine. Goldberg was not involved in the research.
It’s important to note that the new study wasn’t fully published, just a poster of the research, said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular disease prevention and wellness at the National Jewish Health Center in Denver. Freeman was not involved in the research.
Freeman said that although the data showed a relationship between sitting time and an index of heart disease, it’s hard to say exactly how this manifests itself.
“I don’t know if you can say definitively that there is a certain threshold of left ventricular mass that is directly related to a specific health outcome,” he said. “It would be a good idea to follow these kids for another 13 years and see if they develop high blood pressure, which I suspect they will.”
Goldberg added that although this study has a modest sample size and is still preliminary in its findings, it is a good reminder to prioritize healthy behaviors in childhood.
The good news is that additional data from these researchers found that light-intensity physical activity has the potential to reverse heart enlargement from the time of sitting, Agbagi said.
“I would like to appeal to physicians and parents to encourage their children, patients and clients to engage in light physical activity for at least 3 to 4 hours per day to improve heart condition,” he added in an email. “An example of this light physical activity is hiking.”
Children aged 6 to 17 need about an hour of physical activity per day, according to the British Daily Mail. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. but Survey 2020 It found that less than a quarter of the students reached this scale.
When it comes to getting kids moving, focus on activities they enjoy, because that’s what sticks with them in mind, says Goldberg.
“If you’re someone who has a fear of deep water, swimming might not be for you, right?” She said. “But walking, cycling, jogging, dancing, swimming — all of these things are great aerobic exercise and great exercises for health benefits.”
Freeman said that if we want children to live not only a long life, but a good life – and without major health concerns – it’s important to prioritize health now.
“The habits we form early in life and the way we live early in life have a lasting impact,” he said. “If we can learn how to weave these habits into our lives early on, the results will be amazing.”