Encouraging your children to engage in as little as 10 minutes a day in high-intensity physical activity could help them reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, researchers say.
The findings showed that replacing light-intensity physical activity with brief periods of vigorous exercise may provide significant cardiometabolic benefits in young people with relatively large waist measurements and elevated levels of insulin in their blood.
"The results suggest that substituting modest amounts of vigorous physical activity for longer duration light exercise may have cardiometabolic benefits above and beyond those conveyed by moderate activity and the avoidance of sedentary behaviour," said lead author Justin B. Moore, Associate Professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, US.
For the study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers analysed data from 11,588 young people aged four to 18 who were included in 11 International Children's Accelerometry Database studies in the US, Brazil and European countries.
The researchers focused on those records that included the child's age, gender, level of physical activity and at least one biomarker -- a measurable indicator of a medical state or condition -- of a cardiometabolic risk.
These included weight circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and bloodstream levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin.
"A relatively brief but intense dose of physical activity -- perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day, which is certainly feasible for most youth -- could turn out to be part of a 'prescription' for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health," Moore added.
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