Sport is more than just fun for kids

November 17, 2016

Child playing soccerTaking part in organised sports like soccer appears to lower cardiovascular disease risk factors in children, Murdoch University and University of Southern Denmark researchers have found.

Dr Jeff Hebert from Murdoch’s School of Psychology and Exercise Science worked with Professor Niels Wedderkopp and others from the Centre of Research in Childhood Health at the University of Southern Denmark, to assess more than 1,000 primary school students.

Parents reported their children’s sport participation each week via text messages, and the children’s blood samples were assessed for signs of cardiovascular risk at the beginning and end of the year-long study.

The results showed that those who participated in organised sports once a week lowered their collective cardiovascular risk factors by around three per cent. These collective risk factors included insulin, glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. Children who played sport more often saw additional benefits.

Sport participation was associated with a 20 per cent decreased risk of overweight or obesity.

Dr Hebert said: “We are excited by our results, which support organised sport participation as a potentially effective strategy to improve the cardiovascular risk status of children.

“This finding adds to our previous work which identified the contribution of sport to health-related physical activity.

“Increasing children’s physical activity and reducing their cardiovascular risk are important challenges, and sport participation may have advantages over formal interventions such as school or home-based approaches. This will be an important area of research moving forward,” he added.

The study was carried out with children from 10 primary schools as part of the Childhood, Health, Activity, and Motor Performance School Study Denmark. An article about the research has been published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!