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13 May 2011

Future heart risk evident at 9 years

Even healthy children as young as nine-years-old can start to show an increased risk of future heart problems if they are physically inactive.

Even healthy children as young as nine-years-old can start to show an increased risk of future heart problems if they are physically inactive, according to a study in Acta Paediatrica.

Physical activity and heart disease

  • The children's average body mass index was 17.5 for the girls and 17.4 for the boys.
  • The boys were significantly more physically active than the girls, with higher levels of general physical activity (746 mean counts per minute versus 620), moderate to vigorous physical activity (45 minutes versus 35 minutes) and vigorous physical activity (15 minutes versus 11 minutes).
  • There were no significant differences between the genders when it came to systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure and pulse pressure. However the resting heart rate was significantly higher in the girls (85 versus 80 beats per minute).
  • The boys had lower total body fat mass than the girls (6.3kg versus 8.3kg) and lower percentage body fat (16.2% versus 22.6%), but a higher peak oxygen uptake (41.7mL/min/kg versus 35.7).
  • Vigorous physical activity accounted for 10% of the variance in the accumulated cardiac risk scores and moderate to vigorous physical activity accounted for eight per cent of the variance. The results were similar for boys and girls.
  • But there was a difference when it came to general physical activity. This accounted for 11% of the variance in the boys, but showed no significant variance in the girls.

 
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