High Intensity Exercise to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Children

19 September, 2012

Seven hundred eighty children ages 9 to 10 years of age were evaluated for total PA time per day via accelerometry. Intensity was measured and classified as either moderate or vigorous. Pre- and post-assessments included body composition and cardiovascular fitness, which was measured via maximal cycle ergometer test.

The results showed that a lower body fat was associated with higher amounts of vigorous PA, whereas there was no association of body fat with moderate or total PA time. Also, children who participated in greater than 40 minutes of vigorous PA per day had less body fat than those who participated in 10 to 18 minutes of vigorous PA daily. Although total PA, moderate PA and vigorous PA were all associated with higher CVF, children who engaged in greater than 40 minutes of vigorous PA had a higher CVF when compared to the other groups.

Cardiovascular fitness in childhood is positively associated with heart health and obesity later in life. Although moderate intensity and frequent physical activity of longer duration can help improve cardiovascular fitness, this study suggests that by encouraging children to participate in more vigorous activity we may experience less incidence of childhood and adult obesity in the future.

SOURCES: Ruiz, J. et al (2006) Relations of total physical activity and intensity to fitness and fatness in children: the European Youth Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 84:299-303.

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