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Take a look at a selection of our recent media coverage:

ESC: Increased sedentary time in childhood leads to higher left ventricular mass in young adulthood

30th August 2023

Being more sedentary in childhood leads to a higher left ventricular mass in young adulthood, which is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events. This was the key finding of a study presented at the recent European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2023 in Amsterdam.

The study also revealed that this increased risk occurred even in those with a normal weight and blood pressure.

The first study to investigate the cumulative effect of smartwatch-assessed sedentary time in young people and cardiac damage later in life, the researchers asked children aged 11 to wear a smartwatch with an activity tracker for seven days. This was repeated at 15 years of age and again at age 24.

Echocardiography which the imaging modality of choice to assess left ventricular end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes, was used assess the mass of the left ventricle. Measurements were undertaken at ages 17 and 24 years of age and reported in grams relative to height (g/m2.7).

Sedentary behaviour and left ventricular mass

The study enrolled 766 children (55% girls). At 11 years of age, the participants were sedentary for an average of 362 minutes a day. This rose to an average of 474 minutes a day in those 15 years of age, and further still to 531 minutes by age 24.

Sedentary time therefore increased by an average of 169 minutes or 2.8 hours per day between childhood and young adulthood.

The researchers calculated that each one-minute increase in sedentary time from 11 to 24 years of age, was associated with a 0.004 g/m2.7 increase in left ventricular mass between the ages of 17 and 24 years.

When multiplied by 169 minutes of additional inactivity, this equates to a 0.7 g/m2.7 daily rise – the equivalent of a 3 g increase in left ventricular mass between echocardiography measurements at the average height gain.

Study author Dr Andrew Agbaje of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland, said: ‘Children were sedentary for more than six hours a day and this increased by nearly three hours a day by the time they reached young adulthood.

‘Our study indicates that the accumulation of inactive time is related to heart damage regardless of body weight and blood pressure. Parents should encourage children and teenagers to move more by taking them out for a walk and limiting time spent on social media and video games’.

Childhood LRTI linked to nearly two-fold higher risk of premature adult respiratory-related death

17th March 2023

A childhood lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) nearly doubles the risk of a premature adult respiratory-related death according to the findings of a life-spanning cohort study by UK researchers.

Chronic respiratory diseases are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide and in 2017, represented the third largest cause of mortality. Moreover, adverse factors affecting lung development during foetal life as well as in early childhood, decrease the attainment of maximal lung function and accelerate function decline in adulthood. Although researchers have speculated for some time that there is a direct casual link between acute lower respiratory infection in early childhood and conditions such as chronic bronchitis in adult life, an absence of longitudinal data, makes it difficult to provide greater clarity on the relationship between childhood respiratory infections and possible early deaths from a respiratory cause.

In the current study, researchers prospectively collected data from a nationally representative cohort of all single births among married women during 1 week in March, 1946, across England, Scotland and Wales with a review to evaluating the association between the presence of a LRTI during early childhood (age < 2 years) and death from respiratory disease from age 26 through 73 years.

Childhood LRTI and premature respiratory-related death

Researchers included a total of 3,589 participants, aged 26 years (51% male) and who were included in the analysis from 1972 onwards and followed-up for a median of 47.9 years.

After adjusting for several factors including adult smoking, among these 3,589 participants, 25% had an LRTI during early childhood, which nearly doubled their risk of premature death from a respiratory-related disease by age 73 (Hazard Ratio, HR = 1.93, 95% CI 1.10 – 3.37, p = 0.021). Furthermore, in subgroup analysis, there was no evidence that an early childhood LRTI increased the risk of circulatory, cancer, external, other-cause, or all-cause mortality.

The researchers also calculated that the population attributable risk of premature adult death from respiratory disease due to early childhood LRTI was 20·4% and which corresponded to an estimated 179, 188 excess and premature adult deaths across England and Wales between 1972 and 2019.

The authors concluded that a LRTI during early childhood was associated with almost a two times increased risk of premature adult death from respiratory disease and that it accounted for a fifth of all these deaths.

Allinson JP et al. Early childhood lower respiratory tract infection and premature adult death from respiratory disease in Great Britain: a national birth cohort study. Lancet 2023