An Active Childhood May Save Your Life 40 Years Later

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

The past may be over, but is it ever really past? Researchers from Linköping University explain that how fit middle-aged men were during their youth appears to have a connection to their heart health today. More specifically, men who were in shape as adolescents showed a much lower risk of atherosclerosis close to 40 years later.

Atherosclerosis is the thickening of arteries, usually due to the buildup of plaque within the inner lining. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, indicates that atherosclerosis is one of the key mechanisms driving the link between physical fitness and cardiovascular disease.

“Our results strengthen the notion that physical fitness is linked to health outcomes much later in life. The findings are worrying in the sense that there is a clear global trend indicating that young people are less fit now than when these study participants were young in the 1970s and 80s. Therefore, I believe that these findings may be even more important for those growing up now,” says Pontus Henriksson, senior associate professor in the Department of Health, Medicine and Caring Sciences at Linköping University, in a media release.

Researchers linked information provided by the Swedish Military Conscription Register to SCAPIS (the Swedish Cardiopulmonary Bioimage Study), a large population study focusing on heart and lung health among older individuals (ages 50 to 64). Among nearly 9,000 men, all of whom participated in SCAPIS, data on the individuals at conscription at age 18 from 1972 to 1987 was also available. Study authors stress one of the study’s biggest strengths was its basis on the general population, as well as participating men having been followed for a long period (38 years).

Then, the study authors analyzed their coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, using coronary CT angiography (CCTA).

“We see in our study that both good cardiorespiratory fitness and good muscle strength in youth are associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries almost 40 years later,” added Henriksson.

Source: StudyFinds

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)