, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 428-435
Date: 07 Dec 2012

Joint association of physical activity/screen time and diet on CVD risk factors in 10-year-old children

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The increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). While several studies examined the effect of single behaviors such as physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior or diet on CVD risk, there is a lack of research on combined associations, specifically in children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the joint association of PA or screen time (ST) and diet on CVD risk factors in children. PA, STand diet were assessed via questionnaire in 210 fifth grade students (age: 10.6 ± 0.4 years). The healthy eating index (HEI) was subsequently calculated as indicator for diet quality. Height, weight, % body fat, and resting blood pressure were measured according to standard procedures and blood samples obtained via fingerprick were assayed for blood lipids. Total cholesterol HDL ratio (TC:HDL), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and % body fat were used as indicators of CVD risk. 55% of children did not meet current PA recommendations on at least 5 days/week and 70% exceeded current recommendations for ST. Further, only 2.5% possessed a “good” diet (HEI> 80). There was no significant association of PA or STand diet on CVD risk score. Neither TC:HDL, MAP, and % body fat nor the total CVD risk score was significantly correlated with diet, PA, or ST. Children in the high PA group, however, had significantly better diet scores. Despite the fact that self-reported PA, ST, or dietary intake were not directly related to CVD risk in this sample, higher activity levels were associated with a healthier diet and lower ST indicating an overall healthier lifestyle of this subgroup.