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Leading a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight can weaken arteries during childhood

Posted:  Monday, September 21, 2015

More physical fitness implies better arterial health! A recent study at the Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland, suggests better physical fitness, good level of physical activity, and low body fat content are associated with flexible arteries in 6 to 8 year olds.

Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study (PANIC) is an on-going lifestyle intervention study involving 512 children aged 6 to 8 years.

Interestingly, the study found that children with low levels of physical activity coupled with a high body fat percentage had high arterial stiffness and children with poor physical fitness in addition to these had the highest arterial stiffness. Arterial dilation capacity and flexibility were observed to be better in children who were more physically active and physically fit, the latter being an independent determinant of arterial stiffness.

Previously, the PANIC study had revealed that the risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus and vascular diseases in overweight and sedentary individuals accrue during childhood. This significantly elevates the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, vascular diseases and early death during adulthood.

In light of the association of physical fitness with better arterial health, the study suggests regular, high-intensity physical exercise to achieve optimum arterial health. Thus, lifestyle intervention during childhood is the way out to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the long run.

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