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Thursday, April 18 2024
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Inactivity for hours during childhood may cause heart damage

No activity for hours during childhood could be setting the stage for heart attacks and strokes later in life, a new study said on Wednesday.
Photo Credit : IANS

London: A recent study has highlighted that extended periods of inactivity during childhood may contribute to the risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life. The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology, revealed that even those with normal weight and blood pressure can experience heart damage due to sedentary behaviour accumulated from childhood through young adulthood.

The University of Eastern Finland’s Andrew Agbaje, the study’s author, emphasized the significance of this finding, stating that extensive screen time and lack of physical activity in young individuals can lead to a heavier heart, ultimately increasing the chances of heart-related health issues in adulthood. Agbaje stressed the importance of encouraging children and teenagers to be more physically active to safeguard their long-term well-being.

To investigate the matter, researchers outfitted children with activity-tracking smartwatches at ages 11, 15, and 24. Heart health was assessed through echocardiography at ages 17 and 24. The study analyzed the link between sedentary behaviour from ages 11 to 24 and subsequent heart measurements between ages 17 and 24, accounting for variables like age, sex, blood pressure, body fat, smoking, physical activity, and socioeconomic status.

The study included 766 participants, with 55% being girls and 45% boys. Findings indicated that sedentary time increased significantly from childhood to young adulthood, rising by an average of 169 minutes (2.8 hours) per day. This escalating inactivity was associated with heart damage irrespective of weight and blood pressure.

In response to the study’s findings, Agbaje emphasized the role of parents in promoting physical activity among children and teenagers. He suggested outdoor activities, walking, and limiting screen time on social media and video games as measures to mitigate the potential long-term heart risks associated with sedentary behaviour during youth.

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