Australian researchers have found a clear link between exercise and heart health in overweight children. Their studies have not found any impact on children’s weight caused by exercise, but there are clear benefits for blood vessel function.

Exercise and Heart Health in Overweight Children

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The team tracked six studies that examined effects of exercise on obese children and teens. The benefit to cardiovascular health in children is often carried through into adulthood, according to Jeff Coombes, senior researcher and professor at Brisbane’s  University of Queensland School of Human Movement Studies.

Previous studies have shown a link between obesity in childhood and adulthood, which boosts the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. However, according to Coombes, boosting the fitness levels of children and their blood vessel function may change those risks.

“The findings from our analysis show improvements in cardiovascular health, independent of changes in body mass index or body weight,” Coombes said.

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Exercise and Heart Health in Overweight Children

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