Abstract 19818: Sustained Positive Cardiovascular Effects After Three Years Of Increased Physical Activity In School Children
Background: In previous studies we investigated the short term (1 year) effect of daily school exercise lessons on parameters for the cardiovascular risk. Aim of this study is to analyse the mid term (3 year) results with respect to cardiovascular parameters in school children.
Methods: Since 2005 eighteen 6th-grade classes (261 girls, 271 boys; mean age 11.2 ± 0.7 years) of different schools were randomized to an intervention group (IG) with daily school exercise lessons and a control group (CG) with regular school sports (2 hours per week). Up to now 177 students of IG and 124 students of CG from the control group completed the 3 year follow up. At baseline and yearly the following investigations were performed: physical examination, record of anthropometric data, laboratory analysis, bioelectric impedance analysis, treadmill exercise test with spirometry and a standardised questionnaire on sport and leisure behaviour of the children. Motor abilities were determined by a body gross motor development test for children (Koerperkoordinationstest fuer Kinder; KTK).
Results: At baseline both groups were comparable regarding age, sex distribution, BMI, fat free mass (FFM), maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and motor and coordinative abilities (MQ). During the 3-year follow up there was a parallel increase of BMI in both groups (20.1 ±2.5 in IG and 20.4 ±3.1 in CG, p=n.s.). FFM did not change significantly in IG (76.8 ±7%), whereas there was a significant increase of FFM after 3 years in CG (79 ±7%), p<0.05. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly lower in children of IG compared to children of CG after 3 years. With increasing age exercise capacity expressed by VO2max improved in both groups, but to a higher degree in IG (from 40.5 ±8.1 at begin to 49.1 ±7.7 ml/kg/min at 3 years, p<0.01) compared to CG (from 39.9 ±6.7 at begin to 46.1 ±5.8 ml/kg/min at 3 years).
Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that regular physical activity leads to sustained positive effects on the cardiovascular system in children. The long-term influence on physical fitness and activity in adulthood has to be determined in the future. We conclude that primary prevention by means of increased physical activity should already start in childhood.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.