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Poor aerobic fitness can increase diabetes and risk of heart disease in children

Lack of exercise, especially poor aerobic fitness, in children increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Children with poor aerobic capacity in proportion to their total body mass had a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than their peers with better aerobic capacity.

“Measures of aerobic capacity based on total body mass are better predictors of the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than measures based on skeletal muscle mass,” said Andrew Agbaje, senior researcher at the University. from Eastern Finland.

“However, they exaggerate the role of aerobic capacity in children’s health,” he added.

For the study, researchers determined threshold values ​​for aerobic fitness for 352 children, aged 9 to 11, who are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Their aerobic capacity was determined by measuring peak oxygen uptake during a peak stress test.

The team also calculated variables indicative of the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as waist circumference, blood levels of insulin, glucose, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and blood pressure.

The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, found that the traditional way of expressing aerobic fitness as a proportion of total body mass overestimates the role of aerobic fitness in identifying children at increased risk of these diseases.

“We need to be careful in interpreting measures of aerobic fitness commensurate with total body mass in order to correctly identify children who truly need health and lifestyle intervention,” said noted Agbaje.

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