Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are still increasing in developed countries with emphasis on the obesity epidemic. Children and young adults are no exception. With modern lifestyle, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, kidney damage, are increasingly present in children leading to premature cardiovascular events in adult life. Cardiovascular risk factor can accelerate naturally progressing atherosclerosis, which should be prevented to facilitate quality and longevity of life. Primary and primordial prevention in the pediatric population are of utmost importance. However, if a cardiovascular risk factor is already present, frequent monitoring of possible development of other cardiovascular risk factors and evaluation of end organ damage should be implemented to intervene in time.
Part of the book: Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiorespiratory fitness is an outcome of physical activity, enabling the transport of oxygen from the atmosphere to the mitochondria to perform physical work and therefore reflects the overall capacity of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to perform the prolonged exercise. In recent decades, it has declined in the paediatric population. Cardiovascular fitness measurement has yet to be standardised in children but is a powerful marker of health in youth and is strongly associated with inflammation and inversely associated with cardiovascular risk factors, especially obesity. Notably, youth with low cardiorespiratory fitness levels have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases during adulthood. Lowered cardiorespiratory fitness has been demonstrated most often in children with obesity and associated cardiovascular comorbidities, however, these can be associated with cardiorespiratory fitness independently to body mass index. The benefits of physical activity on health have been well demonstrated during growth and it should be encouraged in children with cardiovascular risk to prevent further reduction of cardiorespiratory fitness and the development of other comorbidities. Along with appropriate physical exercise and diet in childhood, breastfeeding in the first year of life is recommended.
Part of the book: Cardiorespiratory Fitness - New Topics