Children at Higher Risk for Heart Strain Due to Physical Inactivity, Study Finds

Photo from Charles Deluvio via Unsplash

Children at Higher Risk for Heart Strain Due to Physical Inactivity, Study Finds

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new study finds that children are at an increased risk of heart strain caused by the physical inactivity that comes from spending too much time inside and in front of a screen.

The study followed 153 adolescents from ages 6-8 to 15-17 for eight years. 

“The findings reveal that kids who accumulated more sedentary time and less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (like running, cycling, etc.) from childhood to adolescence had higher cardiac workloads as teens. Their hearts had to work harder to supply the body with oxygenated blood. On the other hand, those who stayed active, especially with vigorous exercise, had lower cardiac workloads,” Study Finds reported.

The study’s authors explained that this is problematic because an “overworked heart could lead to serious problems down the road, like left ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscle) or even heart failure.”

“Higher levels of sedentary time and lower levels of PA [physical activity] during childhood were associated with higher cardiac work in adolescence, highlighting the importance of increasing PA and reducing sedentary time from childhood,” the study concluded.

The study said these findings “highlight the importance of promotion of a physically active lifestyle and obesity prevention and weight management from childhood to prevent abnormalities in cardiac function later in life.”

“Youth spend nine to ten hours a day being sedentary,” Dr. Eero Haapala, from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, said of the study’s findings. “And only one in ten adolescents accumulated 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity. These are worrying figures.”

Another recent study found that “in 2016, 81% of adolescents around the world aged 11-17 were considered physically inactive,” saying, “Physical inactivity in children and adolescents has become a global public health priority.”

Movieguide® previously reported on other health effects too much screen time can have on young people:

Chinese scientists found that cases of poor eyesight are trending in metropolitan cities while greener areas don’t suffer from the same issue.

“Cases of shortsightedness are increasing – particularly in urban areas. Possible causes include too much screen time, not enough time outdoors and air pollution,” reported the Daily Mail.

“The scientists looked at data on 286,801 children aged seven to 12 in Guangzhou, a city in China with 18 million inhabitants,” the Daily Mail said. “Their eyesight was tested over three years as well as factors including proximity to green space and screen time.”

They found that those with more access to nature had a slower decline in eyesight. Green spaces also protected boys more than girls.

“The authors noted the boys being more likely to engage with increased physical activity and spend less time on their screens when their neighbourhood had a greater area of green space,” the Daily Mail noted.

The scientists said, “Our findings suggest increasing green space exposure could benefit children’s visual development and reduce the risk of visual impairment by reducing air pollution and recreational screen time while increasing physical activity and outdoor time.”

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