Physical activity in early childhood offers protection against heart disease later in life

| 05 Jul 2019 | 02:20

    Physical exercise early in life may pay health dividends into adulthood, a new study shows.
    Researchers conducted an observational study to determine the role total physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has on the heart health of young children. The study, published in the July issue of Pediatrics, included 418 children ages three through five and annually assessed their physical activity for three years.
    The researchers found that children who engage in higher levels of physical activity during early childhood have better cardiovascular health indicators such as increased treadmill performance, and quicker heart rate recovery after exercise. Moderate-to-vigorous activity provided those benefits, and slowed the hardening of the arteries.
    The study authors conclude that the research fills an important gap demonstrating that the protective effects of physical activity on heart health begin in early childhood and may carry over later in childhood and adulthood.