Current recommendations for children to exercise an hour every day are "insufficient" to protect them from heart and blood circulation problems later in life.Children under 10 years of age need at least 80 minutes of physical activity a day to keep them healthy, including 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, conclude researchers publishing in the journal BMC Medicine. This new research into the links between exercise in younger children and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood is part of the European Commission-sponsored project known as IDEFICS (identification and prevention of dietary - and lifestyle - induced health effects in children and infants). The IDEFICS consortium was set up to address the epidemic of obesity and ill-health affecting Europe's young people, and it comprises 24 research centers and companies across Europe.
Exercise is known to reduce the risk of CVD, but current guidelines for children are based on youngsters over 10 years old. Until now, it has been unclear what children under 10 need.The study team, led by David Jiménez Pavón from the University of Zaragosa, is the first to look at the link between physical activity and cardiovascular risk in these younger children.