Sedentary Life in Early Childhood Increases Risk of Heart Problems Later In Life, Study Shows

In Education

Extensive research in recent years has explored the impact of prolonged screen usage in childhood. The findings suggest that excessive screen time can have detrimental effects on socialization and neurological development. One notable consequence is the disconnection from immediate surroundings, leading to actual addictions that often necessitate interventions from mental health professionals.

Adolescents increasingly having sedentary behaviors 

Furthermore, prolonged screen use can contribute to neurocognitive learning disorders during the critical stages of personality formation in childhood. Most importantly, excessive exposure to televisions, mobile phones, video games, and tablets during childhood and adolescence fosters a sedentary lifestyle. Indeed, a proven correlation exists between screen overuse and the rise of sedentary behaviors among children.

A recent study led by Andrew Agbaje at the University of Eastern Finland reveals an additional factor for restricting children’s screen time. The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2023, underscores the heightened heart damage risk in early adulthood for sedentary children. 

Lack of physical activity during early childhood could potentially pave the way for the development of heart problems in the future, regardless of whether an individual’s weight and blood pressure fall within the healthy ranges.

Sedentary life increases heart damage risk

The study analyzed the long-term impact of screen time on children’s heart health using data from the Children of the 90s study. Around 766 of these children wore smartwatches to monitor their activity at ages 11, 15, and 24. Additionally, echocardiograms of their left ventricles were taken at ages 17 and 24. The research examined how sedentary behavior during childhood can affect heart health.

Interestingly the study found that over 13 years, sedentary time among subjects increased significantly, starting at 362 minutes per day at age 11, rising to 474 minutes at age 15, and reaching 531 minutes at age 24, with a total increase of 2.8 hours per day. Much of this sedentary time was screen-based. Furthermore, the research showed a direct correlation between increased heart weight and sedentary behavior, which, in adulthood, raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes, regardless of body weight and blood pressure.

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