Low childhood fitness levels predict teen risk of metabolic syndrome

April 8, 2008

The risk of heart disease in teens with metabolic syndrome may be elevated if they have a history of inactivity during childhood.

The risk of heart disease in teens with metabolic syndrome may be elevated if they have a history of inactivity during childhood.

The findings, published in the April issue of the open access journal Dynamic Medicine, were based on a study in which nearly 400 children were first examined between the ages of 7 and 10, then again seven years later.

The researchers found three or more characteristics of metabolic syndrome in 4.6% of the participants when they were in their teens. These adolescents were six times more likely to have had low aerobic fitness levels as children, and also five times more likely to have had low levels of physical activity upon study entry.

In addition, investigators writing in the April British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that obese children will maximize their efforts to reduce excess weight if they focus on less intense exercise. The authors suggested that the reduction of muscle capacity associated with obesity may diminish the ability to use fat as fuel.