A team of Swedish and Danish researchers studied 223 children — 123 boys and 100 girls, with an average age of 9.8 years, and assessed their physical activity levels over four days.
They found that children, who were physically more active, had a lower composite risk factor score for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than children with lower amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity, reports the journal Acta Paediatrica.
“It is well known that physical inactivity in adults is associated with a wide range of diseases and all causes of death,” says lead author Tina Tanha from the Department of Clinical Sciences at Skane University Hospital, Malmo, Swaden.
“We believe that our study now demonstrates a clear clinical association between physical inactivity and multiple CVD risk factors in children,” according to a Skane University statement.
The children wore an accelerometer strapped to an elastic waist belt for four consecutive days to measure physical activity levels.
Children were included in the study only if they wore the belt for a minimum of eight hours a day for three days. They also underwent tests for various CVD risk factors, including blood pressure, resting heart rate, fitness and body fat.
Key findings were that the boys were significantly more physically active than the girls, with higher levels of general physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity and vigorous physical activity.