In episode 85 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
Metabolic syndrome is a key syndrome to track to evaluate a person’s risk factor of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cardiovascular disease includes strokes and heart attacks, which are major impacts on a person’s health. It is a disease that also affects families and local economies, which is why identifying early risk factors is so critical.
We know that cardiovascular disease and diabetes start very young. Certain habits can be set in place as early as Elementary school DR. CHAD LARSON
PANIC, Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children, conducted a study to examine early risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Researchers tracked kids over several years starting at ages 6-8 to evaluate their metabolic syndrome risk factors. The risk factors for metabolic disease in adults is having a waist circumference of over 40 inches for males, 35 for females, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated level of triglycerides and low HDL. If a person has three out of the five markers, then they have metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a key risk factor of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Researchers evaluated the same risk factors in the children they studied. They then evaluated their physical activity as vigorous, moderate, and the length of their sedentary time. When they looked at it all, they found that kids who had more vigorous activity had a significant decrease in risk factors for all the metabolic syndrome markers.
Vigorous means shortness of breath with perspiration. The more vigorous the activity, the lower their risk factors were. They then evaluated the same kids two years later. The kids who had vigorous activity, if they were more vigorous two years later, reduced their risk of metabolic syndrome even more. If they were more sedentary, they had a dramatic increase in risk factors of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. The conclusion is that kids respond to exercise pretty easily. Just exercise alone created a significant change in their risk factors. We know that cardiovascular disease and diabetes start very young. Certain habits can be set in place as early as Elementary school, which is why they looked at kids to see if they could find something that we can learn about for early-onset disease markers instead of waiting until people become adults and then try to change their habits.
If we know risk factors for diseases, we can start making changes early to prevent the future incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If we evaluate kids and be proactive, sixty minutes of vigorous activity more days than not can reduce risk factors. So, increasing a child’s activity level is preventative medicine.