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Heart risk for inactive children

A lack of exercise can put young children at risk of future heart problems, research has suggested.

A study found that children who were the most active and who took part in moderate or vigorous exercise, had a lower risk of factors that could cause future heart disease than those who took less exercise.

Researchers measured the physical activity levels of 223 children over a period of four days.

The children's resting heart rate, body fat, fitness and blood pressure were also recorded.

The participants in the study were aged 9.8 on average, with an age range of 7.9 to 11.1 years.

They all wore an accelerator belt - which can measure things like speed, distance and calories - for a minimum of eight hours a day for three days.

"We believe that our study now demonstrates a clear clinical association between physical inactivity and multiple CVD risk factors in children," said lead author Dr Tina Tanha, from Skane University Hospital in Sweden.

Dr Tanha added: "Much of the association was driven by body fat measurements and oxygen intake.

"This is important because the accumulation of these risk factors, if started in early childhood and sustained over a long period, is believed to have greater impact on CVD and mortality than one single risk factor."

The research was published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

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Acta Paediatrica