The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.
Being a couch potato as a kid could put your heart in serious danger later in life. A new study warns that children who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to experience strokes or heart attacks in their later years.
The research revealed that children who lack physical activity are at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol in their early adulthood, leading to heart health complications by their mid-40s. It has been previously established that high cholesterol levels in childhood are linked to early indicators of heart disease in one’s mid-20s and a heightened risk of premature cardiovascular mortality in the mid-40s.
Numerous clinical trials focused on reducing cholesterol levels in the young have shown little to no success, according to Finnish researchers.
Dr. Andrew Agbaje, an award-winning physician and pediatric clinical epidemiologist at the University of Eastern Finland, said that engaging in light-intensity physical activities from childhood is five to eight times more effective in reversing the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle on high cholesterol than moderate-to-vigorous activities. The study involved analyzing activity tracker data and repeated cholesterol measurements in English children starting at the age of 11 and following up with them for 13 years. The researchers observed an increase in sedentary behavior from about six hours per day in childhood to nine hours per day in young adulthood. This increase accounted for nearly 70 percent of the overall rise in cholesterol levels.
Conversely, light physical activity decreased from six hours per day in childhood to three hours in young adulthood. Despite this decrease, it was still cumulatively linked to lower total cholesterol levels. The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, also found that an increase in total body fat slightly mitigated the positive effects of light physical activity on cholesterol levels.
Dr. Agbaje noted that increased total body fat significantly lessened the benefits of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in reducing cholesterol.