University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC)
Physically inactive youth are between five and six times as likely as active youth to develop heart problems, according to UNC researchers. The study tested 389 children at ages 7 to 10, then retested them seven years later for the heart health indicators of aerobic fitness, body mass index, blood pressure and lipids. After seven years, nearly 5 percent of the youth had developed three or more cardiovascular risk factors, which indicates a high risk of developing heart disease.
Those who developed several risk factors were more than six times as likely to have low aerobic fitness compared with those with no risk factors, and more than five times as likely to have low physical activity levels. The researchers conclude that getting children to exercise early is crucial to later heart health. The study was published in the journal Dynamic Medicine. Free, 21 pages. (919) 962-1371, http://www.dynamic-med.com/content/pdf/1476-5918-7-5.pdf.