Physical activity and clustered cardiovascular disease risk factors in young children: A cross-sectional study (the IDEFICS study)

David Jiménez-Pavón, Kenn Konstabel, Patrick Bergman, Wolfgang Ahrens, Hermann Pohlabeln, Charalampos Hadjigeorgiou, Alfonso Siani, Licia Iacoviello, Dénes Molnár, Stefaan De Henauw, Yannis Pitsiladis, Luis A. Moreno

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Abstract

Background: The relevance of physical activity (PA) for combating cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in children has been highlighted, but to date there has been no large-scale study analyzing that association in children aged ≤9 years of age. This study sought to evaluate the associations between objectively-measured PA and clustered CVD risk factors in a large sample of European children, and to provide evidence for gender-specific recommendations of PA. Methods: Cross-sectional data from a longitudinal study in 16,224 children aged 2 to 9 were collected. Of these, 3,120 (1,016 between 2 to 6 years, 2,104 between 6 to 9 years) had sufficient data for inclusion in the current analyses. Two different age-specific and gender-specific clustered CVD risk scores associated with PA were determined. First, a CVD risk factor (CRF) continuous score was computed using the following variables: systolic blood pressure (SBP), total triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC)/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) ratio, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and sum of two skinfolds (score CRFs). Secondly, another CVD risk score was obtained for older children containing the score CRFs + the cardiorespiratory fitness variable (termed score CRFs + fit). Data used in the current analysis were derived from the IDEFICS ('Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS') study. Results: In boys <6 years, the odds ratios (OR) for CVD risk were elevated in the least active quintile of PA (OR: 2.58) compared with the most active quintile as well as the second quintile for vigorous PA (OR: 2.91). Compared with the most active quintile, older children in the first, second and third quintiles had OR for CVD risk score CRFs + fit ranging from OR 2.69 to 5.40 in boys, and from OR 2.85 to 7.05 in girls.Conclusions: PA is important to protect against clustering of CVD risk factors in young children, being more consistent in those older than 6 years. Healthcare professionals should recommend around 60 and 85 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous PA, including 20 min/day of vigorous PA. Please see related commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/173.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172
JournalBMC Medicine
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 30 2013

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Keywords

  • Accelerometers
  • Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Physical activity
  • Younger children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Jiménez-Pavón, D., Konstabel, K., Bergman, P., Ahrens, W., Pohlabeln, H., Hadjigeorgiou, C., Siani, A., Iacoviello, L., Molnár, D., De Henauw, S., Pitsiladis, Y., & Moreno, L. A. (2013). Physical activity and clustered cardiovascular disease risk factors in young children: A cross-sectional study (the IDEFICS study). BMC Medicine, 11(1), [172]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-11-172