Wednesday August 21, 2019

Girls Who are More Physically Active in Childhood may Have Better Lung Functioning in Adolescence

The high prevalence of physical inactivity observed in children is worrying

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Girls, Active, Childhood
The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, examined the relationship between physical activity, from childhood to young days and lung function in adolescence in 2,300 boys and girls participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Pixabay

Parents, please take note. Researchers have demonstrated an association between regular physical activity during childhood and higher lung function in adolescent girls compared to boys.

The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, examined the relationship between physical activity, from childhood to young days and lung function in adolescence in 2,300 boys and girls participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

“The high prevalence of physical inactivity observed in children is worrying. Extrapolated to the population as a whole, this is a factor that could have a considerable impact on lung function,” said Judith Garcia Aymerich from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

“Strategies for promoting physical activity in childhood could be highly beneficial for the respiratory health of the population,” she added.

Girls, Active, Childhood
Researchers have demonstrated an association between regular physical activity during childhood and higher lung function in adolescent girls compared to boys. Pixabay

According to the researchers, the children’s physical activity was recorded using an Actigraph sensor over seven-day periods at 11, 13 and 15 years of age and their lung function was analysed by spirometry at 8 and 15 years of age.

The children’s parents also completed questionnaires on socio-demographic, psychological and lifestyle-related factors.

The researchers defined low, moderate and high physical activity trajectories.

“Girls in the moderate and high physical activity trajectories had a higher exhalation capacity — that is, greater forced expiratory volume — than girls in the low physical activity trajectory,” said study lead author Celina Roda from ISGlobal.

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In contrast, no such association was observed in boys. One possible explanation, according to researchers, is that “growth spurts occur earlier in girls than in boys, so any effect of physical activity on lung function can be more easily observed at an earlier age in girls”.

The findings showed that less than 7 per cent of the children achieved the level of physical activity recommended by the World Health Organisation — a minimum of 60 minutes each day. (IANS)

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Physical Activity in Early Childhood Affects Future Cardiovascular Health

It's important to start any kind of preventative measures early

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Physical Activity, Childhood, Cardiovascular Health
The study found that physical activity in toddlers as young as three years old benefits blood vessel health. Pixabay

Physical activity in early childhood may have an impact on cardiovascular health later in life, according to a study.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study found that physical activity in toddlers as young as three years old benefits blood vessel health, cardiovascular fitness and is key to the prevention of early risk indicators that can lead to adult heart disease.

“Many of us tend to think cardiovascular disease hits in older age, but arteries begin to stiffen when we are very young,” said study lead author Nicole Proudfoot from McMaster University in Canada.

“It’s important to start any kind of preventative measures early. We need to ensure that small children have many opportunities to be active to keep their hearts and blood vessels as healthy as possible,” Proudfoot said.

Physical Activity, Childhood, Cardiovascular Health
Physical activity in early childhood may have an impact on cardiovascular health later in life. Pixabay

For the study, more than 400 children between the ages of three and five years were involved. Over the course of three years, the researchers measured and analysed key markers of heart health: cardiovascular fitness, arterial stiffness and blood pressure.

The researchers calculated cardiovascular fitness by measuring how long the children could last on a treadmill test and how fast their heart rates recovered after exercise.

They measured arterial stiffness by how fast their pulse travelled through their body and used ultrasound images to measure the stiffness of the carotid artery. They also measured blood pressure.

The research team tracked physical activity each year by having the children wear an accelerometer around their waist for one week, allowing researchers to determine the amount and intensity of their activity each day.

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The researchers determined that while arteries stiffen over time, the process is slower in young children who have been more active.

Those kids also showed more endurance on the treadmill, suggesting they had better cardiovascular fitness and their heart rates came down faster after exercise.

While the study showed overall physical activity had favourable effects on cardiovascular health, more intense physical activity was more beneficial. (IANS)