Physical activity in early childhood may have an impact on cardiovascular health later in life, according to a study.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study found that physical activity in toddlers as young as three years old benefits blood vessel health, cardiovascular fitness and is key to the prevention of early risk indicators that can lead to adult heart disease.
"Many of us tend to think cardiovascular disease hits in older age, but arteries begin to stiffen when we are very young," said study lead author Nicole Proudfoot from McMaster University in Canada.
"It's important to start any kind of preventative measures early. We need to ensure that small children have many opportunities to be active to keep their hearts and blood vessels as healthy as possible," Proudfoot said.
For the study, more than 400 children between the ages of three and five years were involved. Over the course of three years, the researchers measured and analysed key markers of heart health: cardiovascular fitness, arterial stiffness and blood pressure.