Washington: Researchers have shown that low levels of physical activity combined with heavy use of electronic media and sedentary behaviour are linked to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases already in 6-8 year-old children.
Carried out at the University of Eastern Finland, the study showed that low levels of physical activity - and unstructured physical activity in particular - are linked to increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases in children.
Furthermore, heavy use of electronic media, and especially watching too much TV and videos, was linked to higher levels of risk factors in children. The highest levels of risk factors were found in children with lowest levels of physical activity and highest levels of electronic media time.
Heavy use of electronic media, and especially watching too much TV and videos, increased the levels of risk factors not only in sedentary children, but also in children who are physically active. Moreover, irregular eating frequency and an unhealthy diet were linked to increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes and vascular diseases.
These nutrition-related factors partially explain the link between heavy use of electronic media and the risk factors.
The Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children Study, the PANIC Study, is an on-going lifestyle intervention study. A total of 512 children aged 6 to 8 years participated in the onset measurements in 2007-2009. The study applies scientifically sound methods to extensively study the lifestyles, health and well-being of children.
The study provides novel information on children's physical activity and sedentary behaviour, nutrition, physical condition, body composition, metabolism, vascular system, brain function, oral health, life quality, effects of exercise and nutrition on children's health and well-being, and their effects on health care costs.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.