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From the American College of Sports Medicine

Child's Physical Activity Level May Predict Future Heart Health

Sedentary children may suffer from "arterial stiffness," a precursor to cardiovascular disease

A child's level of physical activity may predict future heart health, with young people who don't exercise enough showing early signs of cardiovascular health problems, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Adults who have low levels of physical activity often have "arterial stiffness" - a precursor of cardiovascular disease development. New research finds that youth may suffer from the same condition.

Father and son kayaking"Our research found that young hearts mimic older hearts in the way they react to low levels of physical activity," said Randal Claytor, Ph.D., lead author of the study. "This again shows how crucial physical activity is to current and future health."

The study examined the relationship between arterial stiffness and physical activity in 593 children and young adults ages 10 to 24. Claytor and his research team measured body composition and total daily moderate and vigorous physical activity using accelerometers. Those who exercised the least and had the highest body mass index levels were most prone to arterial stiffness. Age was also a factor in artery condition.

"The older the youth we studied, the more likely we were to find adverse cardiovascular health in the overweight and non-exercisers," Claytor said. "We believe this shows that the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle are compounded over time."

According to the federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children should be physically active at least 60 minutes per day, and adults under age 65 should accumulate at least 150 minutes per week of activity.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine

Created July 10, 2010