Healthy children can start to show an increased risk of future heart problems if they are physically inactive, according to researchers.

The study in 223 eight to11 year-olds in Sweden found that those who were less active had a higher 'composite risk score' for heart and circulatory disease. This score also took into account their blood pressure, resting heart rate and body fat.

Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Heart and circulatory disease is something that affects adults, not children, so it's difficult to predict the risk of a child developing this later in life.

"However, the benefits of being physically active at any age are well established with studies showing it can prevent children from developing diseases later on in life, as well as improving their concentration at school, their overall mental health and wellbeing.

"This study reinforces the need to incorporate the recommended target of 60 minutes' physical activity into children's daily lives."

The study is published in Acta Paediatrica.


Statement issued in response to study: "Lack of physical activity in young children is related to a higher composite risk factor score for cardiovascular disease. Tanha et al. Acta Paediatrica. 100, pp717-721. (May 2011). DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02226.x

British Heart Foundation

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