Sedentary children are up to six times more likely than active ones to be at serious risk for heart disease when they're older, according to a University of North Carolina study that included hundreds of children.
At ages 7 through 10, the children were checked for a number of key health indicators, such as height, body mass and fat, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, along with physical activity levels, Agence France-Presse reported.
The children were checked again seven years later to see if they'd developed any signs of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that point to increased risk of heart trouble.
Almost 5 percent of them had at least three core symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Those with these core symptoms were six times likelier to have had low aerobic fitness as children, and five times likelier to have had low levels of physical activity at the start of the study, AFP reported.
The study appears in the journal Dynamic Medicine.