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Lazy Teenagers More Likely to Suffer from Health Complications Later in Life

Update Date: Jan 31, 2013 07:39 AM EST

Being lazy in childhood and adolescence can lead to health complications later in life, according to a new study.

The study results show that children should be encouraged to increase time spent in playing sports.

Researchers in the present study found a relationship between sedentary lifestyle in young age and risk of metabolic syndrome at age 40.

Metabolic syndrome means that the person suffers from a group of risk factors that put him or her at a higher risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes type-2 or stroke.

The study included more than 800 participants from northern Sweden who had been followed from 1981 to 2008.

Researchers found that people who reported a sedentary lifestyle (spending time watching television and avoiding physical activity) at age 16 had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome at age 43.

According to estimates, children in the U.S. spend about 4.5 hours on watching television and more than an hour playing video games. Previous research has shown that children spend less than 4 percent of the time that they are awake in physical activities, which is just about 20 minutes a day. The recommended time for physical activity is about 60 minutes for children.

"The results demonstrate that we need to consider how we can reduce sedentary lifestyle among children and adolescents. It may be more important than only focusing on increased fitness and sports activities for those who are already interested," said Patrik Wennberg, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University and lead author of the study, according to a news release. 

A recent study in published in the journal BMJ Open found that cutting down television-viewing by two hours a day can increase life-expectancy by a year. Another study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that encouraging kids to play rather than decreasing calorie intake can make them fit.

The study is published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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