Time to Be Active: Why Children Need to Start Caring About Their Heart

IANS  |  Updated: July 14, 2017 10:41 IST

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Time to Be Active: Why Children Need to Start Caring About Their Heart
A healthy lifestyle is not an overnight miracle. It is a practice that one needs to adopt with sincerity and follow it day after day and over the years. Doing so can help in warding off a number of diseases such as heart disease, high blood sugar, obesity, hypertension and others. And there’s nothing like starting young. This is also the reason why it is so important for parents to ensure that their children are leading a healthy lifestyle by eating right and being physically active.

The secret to a healthy life is discipline, and children need to be made aware of that. Lifestyle related diseases are shockingly on the rise, affecting thousands of urban youth.

The "Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children" study (PANIC) carried out at University of Eastern Finland found that low levels of physical activity, weaker physical fitness and obesity may lead to arterial stiffness, a sign of cardiovascular diseases, even in primary school children. The findings suggest that a lifestyle intervention in childhood can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life.The study included 512 children aged six to eight years. The researchers found that children whose physical fitness were better than that of their peers had a better arterial dilation capacity during physical exercise. The study showed that children with low levels of physical fitness combined with a high body fat percentage had the stiffest arteries. Children with the most physical activity or with the best physical fitness had the most flexible arteries and the best arterial dilation capacity.

Another finding of the study is the association of better physical fitness with better arterial health, suggesting that especially regular, high-intensity physical exercise can be beneficial for arterial health.

CommentsThe study was published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

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