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Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 May;22(5):656-64. doi: 10.1177/2047487314524869. Epub 2014 Feb 13.

Effect of physical activity on vascular characteristics in young children.

Author information

  • 1University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia nikmah@ikafkui.org.
  • 2University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • 3VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 4University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Physical activity has long been proposed as an important modifiable cardiovascular risk factor in adults. We assessed whether physical activity already has an effect on childhood vasculature.

METHODS:

In the Wheezing-Illnesses-Study-in-Leidsche-Rijn birth cohort, we performed vascular ultrasound to measure carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and functional properties (distensibility, elastic modulus) at 5 and 8 years of age. Child typical physical activities were inquired using a questionnaire completed by parents. Linear regression was used with physical activity level, expressed as a standardized value of time-weighted metabolic equivalent (MET) as the independent variable and vascular properties as dependent variables with further confounder adjustment and evaluation for possible body mass index and sex effect modifications.

RESULTS:

In 595 5-year-old children and in 237 of those who had reached the age of 8 years, we did not find statistically significant associations between total time-weighted MET and each vascular parameter, neither in pooled nor stratified analysis. However, sport activities were associated with thinner cIMT (-3.20 µm/SD, 95% CI -6.34, -0.22, p = 0.04) at 5 years of age; a similar pattern was seen for organized sport. This effect was strongest in children in the highest body mass index tertile (-5.38 µm/SD, 95% CI -10.54, -0.19, p = 0.04). At the age of 8 years, higher sport level tended to be associated with higher vascular distensibility (2.64 × 10(3) kPa/SD, 95% CI -0.18, 5.45, p = 0.07) although this was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sport activity may have beneficial effects on arteries of young children, particularly those with higher relative body weight.

KEYWORDS:

Carotid intima–media thickness; child; physical activity; vascular stiffness

PMID:
24526797
DOI:
10.1177/2047487314524869
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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