Physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors in urban school children E Kilbride1, J Hussey2, G Boran1, P Greally1 Tallaght Hospital ,Dublin 242Department of Phyiotherapy,School ofMedicine, Trinity College Dublin
Abstract Although the clinical signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not evident until adulthood, many of the risk factors have their roots in early childhood. The aim of this study was to examine physical activity levels (PA) and the incidence of CVD risk factors in a small population (n=102) of primary school children in Dublin. Risk factors measured included overweight/obesity, blood lipids, blood pressure (BP), physical fitness and PA levels. Over a quarter of the group were overweight/obese (n=29, 28%). Despite relatively good fitness levels, PA levels were low with less than half the group (n=44, 46%) participating in the recommended 1 hour/day. Fewer girls reported spending >1hour/day at PA compared to boys (n=14 v n=30). Six children had elevated cholesterol levels and five children had higher than normal BP values. Sixteen children demonstrated clustering of CVD risk factors and in those who were inactive the risk was greater. Our data suggest that in children as young as 10years significant risk factors already exist. Furthermore, the low level of PA in girls provides a target for health promotion programmes.