Posted on Jun 20, 2014, 6 a.m.
Children who spend 2 hours or more in front of a TV, computer, or videogame may be at 2.5-times greater risk of developing high blood pressure.
High blood pressure in youth is associated with early markers of cardiovascular disease, as blood pressure levels track from childhood to adulthood. Gilles Paradis, from McGill University (Canada), and colleagues studied the relationship between physical inactivity, sedentary behaviors and fitness on blood pressure in children at high risk of obesity. Data were taken from a sample of 630 children aged 8 and 10 years, all of who had at least one obese parent. Five consecutive blood pressure readings were taken and physical activity was assessed for one week with an accelerometer, a device which measures movement. Children also filled out validated questionnaires, recording physical inactivity from TV viewing, computer use, video game playing, studying and reading. Fitness was assessed using a standard incremental exercise test on an exercise bike. The data revealed that children who spend two hours or more in front of a screen (TV, computer, videogames etc.) have over a 2.5-fold increase in their odds of having high blood pressure. These odds are increased further by overweight and obesity. The study also showed that children with a low level of fitness had 3.4 times higher odds of high blood pressure, as compared to those with a high level of fitness.
Paradis G. “Association of physical inactivity, low fitness and sedentary behaviors with blood pressure in 8-10 year old children ” [Abstract O206]. resented at World Congress of Cardiology 2014 (World Heart Federation), 7 May 2014.