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Long computer and television sessions in childhood increase the risk of heart disease in adulthood
Children who spend a lot of time in front of the television or computer screen are at increased risk of heart disease in adulthood, researchers from the Institute of Ophthalmology at the University of Sydney report in the current issue of the specialist magazine "Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology" of the American heart society.
Scientists have found narrower arteries in the retina in children who spend a lot of time in front of the monitor than in children who played a lot outside and sat little on the television or computer. The condition of the retinal arteries is considered an indicator of possible heart problems in adults. Her study results suggest "that an unhealthy lifestyle at an early age affects microcirculation, increasing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure," said Bamini Gopinath of the University of Sydney.
Narrowed retinal arteries Indication of increased risk of heart disease As part of their investigation, the scientists examined 1,492 children and asked their parents about the children's activities using a questionnaire. Factors such as body weight, height, gender and blood pressure were also taken into account, write Bamini Gopinath and colleagues. The researchers found that the six- and seven-year-olds who spent a lot of time in front of the TV or computer have narrower arteries in the retina of the eye than children who spent a lot of time outdoors. For example, the arteries in the more physically active children were 0.0022 millimeters wider on average than in the boys and girls who spend a lot of time in front of the screen. Since there is a connection between the artery structure and the occurrence of cardiac diseases in adulthood, it can be assumed that the physically inactive children are exposed to an increased risk of cardiac disease, the Australian researchers report.
Physical activity positive for blood circulation and artery walls The fact that the more active children who exercise more than an hour a day have significantly more arteries than children who are active for 30 minutes or less a day shows how important physical activity is Effort for blood circulation and artery walls is. The researchers at the University of Sydney emphasized that the adolescents spent an average of 1.9 hours a day in front of the screen and only 36 minutes playing or playing outdoors in view of the associated health risk. Bamini Gopinath recommends: "Schools should make at least two hours of exercise a week for all children".
School sports will hardly help those affected. However, it will hardly be possible to compensate for the private lack of exercise with two hours of school sports a week. Rather, movement initiatives are needed that make parents and children rethink and show them how important physical activities are for their health. Fast action is required, because the health system is already rolling in considerable additional costs due to the numerous overweight adolescents. In addition, there are the individual health problems that arise for those affected. (fp)
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Image: Berndt Fankhauser / pixelio.de