Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inactive Kids Are At Risk of Heart Disease As Teens!

Childhood obesity has been a major issue facing governments around the world. This is because obese kids can develop heart disease, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and even some types of cancer later in their life. The amount of medical expenses thus incurred is expected to be huge and this surely will create great pressure on the authorities concerned.

Most health experts have attributed such epidemic to unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle. A recent finding published on April 4, 2008 in the British journal Dynamic Medicine pointed out that young children who have sedentary lifestyles are up to 6 times more likely to be at serious risk of heart disease later in life, than their peers who are active. Meanwhile, the cluster of symptoms reflecting heart trouble, known as metabolic syndrome, could just show up as early as at the teen years.

In the study, key health indicators like blood pressure, body mass, cholesterol levels, height, percentage of body fat were measured for about 400 kids between 7 and 10 by the researchers from the University of North Carolina. Their frequency and duration of physical exercise were also monitored.

7 years later, these children were reexamined as teenagers and it was found that there was nearly 5 percent of the adolescents had 3 or more of core symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Such result more or less confirmed the previous research that showed 4 to 9 percent of adolescents in the United States have some combination of glucose intolerance, hypertension, obesity and a worrying cholesterol count.

The study also found that adolescents with the syndrome were 6 times more likely to have low aerobic fitness as children, and 5 times more likely to have low levels of physical activity when the study began. These kids at best brisk walked, rode a bike or performed some equivalent activity for not more than 20 minutes a day.

This was indeed very much lower than that recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that children should exert themselves at this level for at least an hour per day.

It is undeniable that children today have adopted a very sedentary life and are prone to overweight or even obesity. The new findings have already highlighted the link between sedentary life and heart disease. As such, efforts to ensure kids to increase exercise in their childhood as early as possible are inevitable. It is better to keep fit now rather than suffer the health consequences later in life.

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