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Lack of childhood exercise raises type 2 risk in adulthood

By Editor
7th November 2018
Paediatrics, Type 2 diabetes

Children who do not exercise regularly could be at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life, according to researchers.

A study, carried out by the University of Eastern Finland, also showed that the traditional way of expressing aerobic fitness in proportion to total body mass overestimates the role of aerobic fitness in identifying children at an increased risk of these diseases.

The trial was carried out as part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study and the findings were reported in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

The study determined threshold values of aerobic fitness for girls and boys, making it possible to identify children who are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All together data was taken from a total of 352 children, aged between 9 and 11.

Study first author Dr Andrew Agbaje, from the University of Eastern Finland, said: “Measures of aerobic fitness that are based on total body mass are better at predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than measures that are based on skeletal muscle mass; however, they exaggerate the role of aerobic fitness in children’s health.

“We should be cautious when interpreting aerobic fitness measures that are proportioned to total body mass in order to correctly identify children who truly need health and lifestyle intervention.”

Their aerobic fitness was determined by measuring peak oxygen uptake during a maximal exercise test. In addition, their body adiposity and skeletal muscle mass were measured by bioelectrical impedance.

The researchers 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 as well as blood pressure.

The newly published study now shows that children with poor aerobic fitness, in proportion to their total body mass, have a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease than their peers with better aerobic fitness.

When aerobic fitness was proportioned to skeletal muscle mass, the association of aerobic fitness with the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease remained, but was considerably weaker than when proportioned to total body mass.

To read the study, click here.

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