RESEARCH being conducted at the University of Limerick will seek to determine whether the sedentary lifestyles of 21st century teens will lead to cardiovascular problems later in life.
Led by Prof Alan Donnelly, of the Centre for Physical Activity and Health Research, the study - Sitting Around All Day Doing Nothing - has received funding from the Irish Heart Foundation.
In an earlier study, Prof Donnelly found that teenage girls spent an average of 19 hours a day either sitting or lying down.
Prof Donnelly explained: “There is no doubt that performing moderate or vigorous physical activity is good for the long-term health of adolescents. However, we believe that long periods of sitting might be a separate risk factor in this group. Replacing some of this sitting time with light activity might be an effective means of improving health risk and reducing the risk of obesity in these adolescents”.
With heavy housework and walking to school things of the past for many teenagers, there is evidence that the advent of largely seated pastimes such as gaming and social networking has made today’s teenagers more inactive than ever before.
The research will take a different approach to adolescent health risk and instead of focusing on high-intensity activity, will examine the effects of sitting and the potential effects of light intensity physical activity.