Lack of exercise or physical activity in childhood spells increased risk of heart attacks in adulthood, according to a new study.
A child's level of fitness and physical activity might cause diabetes, high Blood pressure and cholesterol levels, besides obesity, collective known as the "metabolic syndrome" - and that could lead to cardiac problems later in life.
Four hundred participants between the ages of seven and 10 and between the ages of 14 and 17 took part in the study to gauge the likelihood of metabolic syndrome.
After seven years almost half of them developed at least a single characteristic of metabolic syndrome, while five per cent had developed its full-blown version.
Those with metabolic syndrome were six times more likely to have had low levels of physical activity as children.
The findings - published in the open access journal Dynamic Medicine - reveal that lack of fitness during childhood is a strong indication of the development of heart disease later in life.
"Children today live a very sedentary life and are prone to obesity," said Robert McMurray of University of North Carolina, who conducted the research.