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Physical Activity in Early Childhood Offers Protection Against Heart Disease Later in Life


Researchers conducted an observational study to determine the role total physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has on the heart health of young children. The study in the July 2019 issue of Pediatrics, “Physical Activity and Trajectories of Cardiovascular Health Indicators During Early Childhood,” (published online June 11) included 418 3- to 5-year-old children and annually assessed their physical activity for a 3-year period.  The researchers found that children who engage in higher levels of physical activity during early childhood have better cardiovascular health indicators such as increased treadmill performance, and quicker heart rate recovery after exercise. Moderate-to-vigorous activity provided those benefits, and it slowed the hardening of the arteries. Study authors conclude the research fills an important gap demonstrating that the protective effects of physical activity on heart health begin in early childhood and may carry over into childhood and adulthood.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds