Sedentary Life During Childhood Increases Risk Of Heart Failure Later In Life

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The modern lifestyle involves prolonged periods of sitting, impacting both work and leisure. A recent study emphasizes the importance of physical activity for children, highlighting the detrimental effects of constant inactivity on heart health. Contrary to common belief, sedentary behavior poses a greater risk to the heart compared to intense physical exertion.

Sedentary life during childhood strains heart in teenage years

A recent Finnish study in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that increased sedentary behavior in childhood can strain the heart by adolescence. This includes being physically inactive, spending less time outdoors, and excessive screen time, which can make a young heart work harder than usual for its age.

The study from the University of Jyväskylä and the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland highlights a concerning trend of inactivity among youth, which poses a risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death globally.

Dr. Eero Haapala emphasizes that youth spend approximately nine to ten hours daily in sedentary activities, with only one in ten meeting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.

Over eight years, 153 adolescents aged 6-8 to 15-17 were monitored for sedentary behavior and physical activity levels. This was done using chest-worn monitors, with subsequent cardiac function tests to gauge heart efficiency. Results indicate that increased sedentary time and decreased physical activity correlate with higher cardiac workloads in teens, suggesting that maintaining an active lifestyle, especially with vigorous exercise, can reduce cardiac strain.

Overworked heart can cause ventricular hypertrophy

This raises concerns because an overworked heart can cause serious health issues such as left ventricular hypertrophy or heart failure, indicating potential cardiovascular problems ahead.

The Finnish team suggests that heightened cardiac workload may be linked to childhood obesity and insulin resistance, often caused by inactivity. Adjusting for body fat percentage reduced some heart function discrepancies. They propose promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior from a young age as a solution. Encouraging habits like regular exercise, minimizing screen time, and controlling diet could benefit heart health in childhood and beyond.

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