How a sedentary lifestyle increases the heart mass of young people, and therefore weakens them


Video conversation between teenagers. PAUL BRADBURY/CAIAIMAGES/PHOTONONSTOP

Ten thousand steps and more. We know that a sedentary lifestyle has deleterious effects on health. A study has just shown that in children, it can change the structure of the heart and heart function. Led by epidemiologist Andrew Agbaje, from the University of Eastern Finland, with the British universities of Bristol and Exeter, the study was published Tuesday May 7 in the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The researchers analyzed physical activity, by accelerometer, in 1,682 young people aged 11, 17 and 24 from the British AVON longitudinal cohort, then measured cardiac function, by echocardiography, in these same young people, at the ages of 17 and 24 years old.

Sedentary lifestyle increased from six hours a day at the start of the study to eleven hours among young adults. This increase in sedentary time was associated with a pathological increase in heart mass over a seven-year period from adolescence to early adulthood, independently of obesity or obesity. high blood pressure, specify the authors.

“We should check whether this increase in mass is not linked to an accumulation of fat in the heart muscle”specifies sports cardiologist François Carré, who nevertheless finds “the interesting study”. This work also shows a decrease in diastolic function, the relaxation function of the heart muscle. “It’s the way in which the muscle, after contracting, relaxes. The faster it relaxes, the better the heart functions.”, explains François Carré. By losing its ability to relax, the heart fills less and thus returns less blood to the body, and therefore provides less oxygen to the muscles and organs.

In cardiac pathologies, diastolic function is impaired. Obese people or hypertensive people also have a disorder of this cardiac function. Conversely, champions have the ability to relax the heart muscle very quickly. It is also known that higher left ventricular mass increases the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and premature death.

“A real addiction to chairs and screens”

Previous studies in the same population have linked a high sedentary lifestyle to increased inflammation, high insulin levels, fatty obesity, dyslipidemia and arterial stiffness, the authors recall. Proof, if any were needed, of the harmful effects of sitting still. Independently of other risk factors, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with a 2.5 times higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, underlines the National Observatory of Physical Activity and Sedentary Life (Onaps). “There is growing evidence that a sedentary lifestyle among children poses a health threat that must be taken seriously. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we view childhood sedentary life, as growing evidence points to a ticking time bomb.”insists Andrew Agbaje.

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