According to a new study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland, vigorous exercise can vastly reduce the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in children.
In a two year follow-up from the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) study, ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland, it has been found that inactive behaviour increased the accumulation of risk factors, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, whereas increasing the amount of vigorous exercise reduced it.
The results are based on follow-up data carried out in collaboration with scientists from the University of Cambridge, UK, the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and is the first follow-up study to reliably validate these associations in children.
The study has earlier shown that the accumulation of risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which typically exists in people who are overweight, more than often begins in childhood.
This is disturbing news, as the accumulation of risk factors in childhood significantly increases the risk of these diseases in adulthood. According to this newly published study, regular exercise and avoiding a physically passive lifestyle constitute efficient means of mitigating the risk factors type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
What effect will vigorous exercise have?
The study analysed associations of changes in the amount of light, moderate and vigorous exercise, as well as sedentary behaviour. Alongside this analysis, risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease was also taken into consideration, more specifically body fat content, waist circumference, blood insulin, glucose levels, blood lipids and blood pressure.
The overall risk and distinct risk factor of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease reduced in children who increased their amount of vigorous exercise. In children whose inactive behaviour increased, the risk also increased.
Juuso Väistö, from the University of Eastern Finland says: “According to latest recommendations, children need diverse physical activity every day, and at least 60 minutes should be vigorous exercise.”
A highly significant study
This study is significantly noteworthy, as it is one of the first follow-up studies in the world to reliably show that increasing the amount of vigorous exercise is independently associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in ordinary primary school children.
Väistö explains: “Our findings provide support for the role of physical activity in preventing common chronic diseases already in childhood.”
He highlights that children and young adults should participate in and incorporate more physical exercise in their daily activities.