Children who are sedentary may have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke later in life

Dec. 19, 2023
High cholesterol during childhood has been associated with early signs of heart disease when individuals reach their mid-twenties and an increased risk of premature cardiovascular death in their mid-forties.

Children who are physically inactive may have high cholesterol in early adulthood and subsequent heart health issues in their mid-forties, according to new research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The researchers studied activity tracker data and repeated measures of cholesterol in 11-year-old children followed for up to 13 years from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

They assessed the association between sedentary time and high cholesterol levels and found sedentary time increased from approximately 6 hours/day in childhood to 9 hours/day in young adulthood, and contributed nearly 70% to the increase in their overall cholesterol levels.

They also determined light physical activity decreased from 6 hours/day in childhood to 3 hours/day in young adulthood but was cumulatively associated with reduced total cholesterol. Increased total body fat slightly reduced the effect of light physical activity on total cholesterol.

Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was relatively stable around 50 mins/day from childhood until young adulthood and was only associated with reduced total cholesterol, but increased total body fat seriously diminished the effect of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on total cholesterol.

Endocrine Society release on Newswise