Inactivity During Childhood Poses Heart Health Risk In Adulthood, Study Shows

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According to a recent study, childhood inactivity may pose a significant threat to heart health in the future. The research indicates that children with sedentary lifestyles are at an increased risk of suffering strokes or heart attacks later in life.

Lack of physical activity during childhood linked to high cholesterol

Lack of physical activity in childhood increases the likelihood of high cholesterol and, consequently, raises the risk of heart health issues in early adulthood, potentially leading to cardiovascular complications by the mid-40s. Previous studies have established a connection between elevated cholesterol levels during childhood, early signs of heart disease in the mid-20s, and an increased risk of premature cardiovascular mortality in the mid-40s.

According to researchers, several clinical trials conducted to reduce cholesterol levels in young individuals have yielded minimal to no success.

Pediatric clinical epidemiologist at the University of Eastern Finland, Andrew Agbaje, said that engaging in light physical activity (LPA) from childhood may be more effective than moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in counteracting the negative impact of sedentary behavior on elevated cholesterol and dyslipidemia. Agbaje explained that research highlights that while an increase in both muscle and fat mass is a normal physiological occurrence in youth, it is surprising that the increase in fat mass significantly reduces the cholesterol-lowering effect of MVPA.

Physical activity counteracts adverse effects of sedentary life

Engaging in light-intensity physical activities during childhood is significantly more effective (five to eight times) than moderate-to-vigorous activities in counteracting the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle on high cholesterol, according to a study by Dr. Agbaje. The research, spanning 13 years, analyzed activity tracker data and cholesterol measurements in English children, revealing a 70 percent increase in cholesterol levels linked to a rise in sedentary behavior from six to nine hours per day.

Light physical activity declines from childhood to young adulthood, yet remains linked to lower total cholesterol levels. Despite stability in moderate-to-vigorous activity, its positive impact on cholesterol only occurs when total body fat is low, emphasizing the influence of body composition on the relationship between physical activity and cholesterol.

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