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Physical Activity Levels in Kids and Young Adults May Predict Future Heart Health

by Matrix Admin | Aug 01, 2011
Low levels can have adverse effects, researchers say

BALTIMORE – Young people who don’t exercise enough may show early signs of cardiovascular health problems, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Adults who have low levels of physical activity often have “arterial stiffness” – a precursor of cardiovascular disease development. New research finds that youth may suffer from the same condition.

“Our research found that young hearts mimic older hearts in the way they react to low levels of physical activity,” said Randal Claytor, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “This again shows how crucial physical activity is to current and future health.”

The study examined the relationship between arterial stiffness and physical activity in 593 children and young adults ages 10 to 24. Claytor and his research team measured body composition and total daily moderate and vigorous physical activity using accelerometers. Those who exercised the least and had the highest body mass index levels were most prone to arterial stiffness. Age was also a factor in artery condition.

“The older the youth we studied, the more likely we were to find adverse cardiovascular health in the overweight and non-exercisers,” Claytor said. “We believe this shows that the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle are compounded over time.”

According to the federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children should be physically active at least 60 minutes per day, and adults under age 65 should accumulate at least 150 minutes per week of activity.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the  American College of Sports Medicine.

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