Yet Another ‘would you believe it’

April 13, 2008

Let’s hear it for Robert McMurray, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, who managed to get a grant to show that teenagers who lounge about watching television and undertake very little physical activity probably developed the habit when they were younger. I wish I had thought of applying for a grant to study that, who would have guessed that kids who were couch potatoes at age 7-10 were unlikely to turn into star athletes when they hit their teens?

It is actually a serious subject as lack of physical activity and poor aerobic fitness is usually combined with poor eating habits to produce a child at risk of metabolic syndrome. That is a cluster of risk factors that in combination certainly appear to increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses later in life.

According to Dr Murray, “This is the first study to examine the importance of childhood fitness levels on your metabolism as a teenager. Previously we didn’t know if low fitness levels were an influence. It’s obvious now that there is a link and this is something which we need to pay attention to by encouraging our kids to keep fit, or suffer the consequences later in life.”

The study showed that the unfit kids already had a higher body mass index, higher blood pressure, and a greater total cholesterol level than the children who undertook more exercise and that second group would not go on to develop metabolic syndrome risk factors. In fact the unfit teenagers were six times more likely to have had poor aerobic fitness as children and five times more likely to have had overall low levels of physical activity.

I would guess that if you asked most adults if there was link between low physical activity in children and how they behaved as teenagers, then certainly most parents would not be surprised at the findings.

Anyone know the contact details for the National Lottery Research Funding Applications? I have a great idea for studying the health benefits of breathing on a daily basis, as opposed to only once a week, and I am sure I could show some benefit from it.


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