Physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors in children

Department of Exercise Epidemiology, Center for Research in Childhood Health, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.
British Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.03). 09/2011; 45(11):871-6. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090333
Source: PubMed


A number of recent systematic reviews have resulted in changes in international recommendations for children's participation in physical activity (PA) for health. The World Health Authority (WHO) has recently released new recommendations. The WHO still recommends 60 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), but also emphasises that these minutes should be on top of everyday physical activities. Everyday physical activities total around 30 min of MVPA in the quintile of the least active children, which means that the new recommendations constitute more activity in total compared with earlier recommendations.
To summarise evidence justifying new PA recommendation for cardiovascular health in children.
The results of recent systematic reviews are discussed and supplemented with relevant literature not included in these reviews. PubMed was searched for the years 2006-2011 for additional topics not sufficiently covered by the reviews.
PA was associated with lower blood pressure and a healthier lipid blood profile in children. The association was stronger when a composite risk factor score was analysed, and the associations between physical fitness and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors were even stronger. Muscle strength and endurance exercise each had an effect on blood lipids and insulin sensitivity even if the effect was smaller for muscle strength than for aerobic exercise. New evidence suggests possible effects of PA on C-reactive protein.
There is accumulating evidence that PA can have beneficial effects on the risk factors of CVD in children. Public health policy to promote PA in children, especially the most sedentary children, may be a key element to prevent the onset of CVD later in the children's lives.

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    • "Physical activity (PA) in developmental age has been associated with both physical and mental positive health changes, such as decreasing in cardiovascular risk factors [1], preventing metabolic diseases [2], improving quality of life [3], behavior [4], self-esteem [5], and mood [6]. Moreover, physical exercise by youths has been linked to improvement in cognition, learning and academic proficiency [7], through different possible neurobiological mechanisms: increased volume of cerebral blood flow and oxygen rate [8], modifications in hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal axis hormonal release [9], and increase in neurotrophic factors (particularly in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF), which in turn have been hypothesized to determine the increase in white matter volume and connectivity [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Schools are an ideal setting to implement physical activity programs targeted at youths' learning and intellectual abilities, as exercise has been associated with improvement in cognitive skills and academic proficiency. A systematic review of the literature was performed to examine the effects of school-based physical activity interventions on academic achievement and cognitive outcomes. A search for relevant papers was carried out on PubMed/Medline, Scopus and Google Scholar. Only quasi-experimental and experimental studies were included, if focused on school-based physical activity interventions targeting 3 to 18 year-old healthy pupils, and designed to establish a relationship between exercise performed in a school setting and cognitive/academic performance. Thirty-one papers were retrieved by the search, reporting the findings of twenty-eight school-based physical activity interventions. Most of the included studies were published in the past five years. A large majority of the studies showed positive results in terms of academic achievement and, above all, cognitive skills. In the recent years, the number of studies on school-based physical interventions aimed to establish a relationship between physical activity performed in school setting and cognitive/academic outcomes significantly increased, as well as high quality assessments and designs. This review highlights the effectiveness of school-based physical activity interventions on academic achievement and, above all, on youths' cognitive performance. Some interesting findings come from studies assessing brain functional changes, from interventions targeting culturally diverse or low-income samples, and from interventions where physical activity is in the form of active videogames.
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    • "Durante a infância e a adolescência a atividade física (AF) regular está associada a ganhos em saúde, nomeadamente em termos psicológicos e fisiológicos (Andersen et al. 2011; Timmons et al. 2012). No entanto vários estudos têm evidenciado que as crianças de idade préescolar não são suficientemente ativas fisicamente, não cumprindo as orientações dos necessários 180 minutos/dia imprescindíveis para ter impacte ao nível da sua saúde (Pate et al. 2012; Tremblay et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: O objetivo desta pesquisa é descrever e analisar a utilização dos Parques Infantis (PI) realizada por crianças até aos 12 anos numa lógica do seu desenvolvimento motor. Como instrumento de recolha de dados, recorreu-se à observação direta das crianças no PI da Fonte Nova, na cidade de Aveiro (Portugal), de acordo com um protocolo de observação definido ao longo de cinco tardes e num total de seis horas de observação de 45 crianças. De acordo com os resultados constatámos que existe um maior número de crianças a frequentar o parque a partir das 17H 00, sendo de realçar que ao fim de semana o número de crianças é relativamente mais elevado. Em relação aos equipamentos do PI mais utilizados pelas crianças, foram o escorrega apesar de o golfinho ser o primeiro a ser utilizado. Ao longo das observações, a utilização dos equipamentos pelas crianças permite concluir que estas ao frequentarem os parques infantis desenvolvem capacidades motoras, assim como nos permitiu apurar qual o equipamento que mais as estimula.
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    • "Childhood overweight and obesity are major concerns in terms of public health, in developed and developing countries (Olds et al., 2011) and this is a concern in Portugal (Sardinha et al., 2011). Current evidence shows that increased physical activity (PA) levels, particularly moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA), are associated with lower total and central adiposity (Franks et al., 2010), lower blood pressure (Gaya et al., 2009) and a more favourable lipid profile (Andersen et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the effects of a school-based exercise intervention programme on cardiovascular risk factors, including body fat (BF), metabolic profile and physical activity (PA) in children with and without individualised dietary counselling approach (IDC and WIDC). Forty-six overweight children from 6-16 years old (25 girls, 54.3%; age = 10.3 ± 2.8) of six schools took part in an 8-month interdisciplinary, school-based intervention programme. All children were engaged in PA classes, but only one group was exposed to individualised counselling. Blood pressure (BP), lipids and lipoproteins, accelerometer-based PA, percentage of body fat (%BF) and trunk fat (%TF) measures were taken before and after intervention. General Linear Model (Repeated Measures ANOVA) adjusted for age, maturation and height change was used to analyse the longitudinal effect of individualised counselling between two evaluations in each group. Favourable changes were observed for %BF, %TF, systolic BP and total cholesterol in the IDC group. Subjects WIDC only increased light and moderate-vigorous PA. In IDC, significant effects for time * group interactions were found for systolic BP, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, indicating that counselling might add favourable changes in these markers, beyond those explained by PA and growth. School-based interventions can contribute to counteracting obesity in youth, particularly when individualised dietary counselling is provided. Therefore, the link between schools and professional counselling should be strengthened to ensure consolidated changes towards healthy behaviours.
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