Children Cardiovascular Disease Risks

Cardiovascular disease risks are seen in children as young as 9 years old

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Before the age of video games and the internet, children spent most of their time outdoors running and playing. Now children are spending vast amounts of time in the house watching TV or playing on the computer.

Inactivity at any age can increase risks for cardiovascular disease and other diseases. Researchers fount that risk for cardiovascular disease can begin as early as nine years old.

"Encourage children to play outside and exercise."

Tina Tanha and colleagues from Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden measured many composite factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease in children age 7-11 in comparison to physical activity. Measurements for daily physical activity, body fat, oxygen uptake, resting heart rate, and blood pressure were taken.

Tanha and researchers specifically studied so many factors in comparison with physical activity because most studies focus on one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Tanha and colleagues found children who were more physically active had a lower composite risk factor score for cardiovascular disease than children who had lower to moderate amounts of vigorous activity.

The sample size was small, but the study showed children have higher composite risk factors even as early as age nine with low daily activity. A larger longitudinal study is in progress to measure the composite risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and physical activity.

The Study

  • Researchers from Sweden and Denmark
  • 223 children age 7-11
  • Measured daily physical activity, body fat, maximal oxygen uptake, resting heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Accelerometer used to measure physical activity
  • Children that were more physically active had lower composite risk factor scores
  • 8-11 percent of variance in composite CVD scores can be explained by differences in physical activity
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 17, 2011
Last Updated:
May 19, 2011